Now that the AAP newswire is expected to continue, it will become a competitor to News Corp Australia’s operation. Sources said News Corp has not engaged with customers since an agreement was signed between the AAP Board and the potential owners. News Corp declined to comment. Mr Tonagh declined to comment.
AAP’s newswire was expected to be sold for $1 earlier this month to investors and philanthropists including Samuel Terry Asset Management managing director Fred Woollard and Australian Impact Investments managing director Kylie Charlton, who are being publicly fronted by Mr Tonagh, but the finalised agreement has been delayed several times.
Any formal transfer of the newswire operations, should the sale proceed, will not occur until July 31 and all staff entitlements are expected to be funded by Nine and News Corp. But despite keeping the business running, AAP content will not be used by News Corp or Nine’s publications including The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age from July 1.
Once a deal is signed, Australian Associated Press’ is expected to appoint long-standing executive Emma Cowdroy to the helm. Industry sources previously told The Herald and The Age that AAP chief executive Bruce Davidson is expected to lead what is left of the business – Mediaverse, Medianet and Pagemasters – while Ms Cowdroy will be appointed chief executive of the newswire.
Described as ‘AAP 2.0’, the new company will provide up to 75 editorial jobs and about 10 roles in management, IT and support. It is expected to cost the consortium more that $10 million to fund. There are about 140 editorial staff that remain at the newswire, as some staff took redundancies in March, meaning a sale will result in at about 60 editorial redundancies.
Nine and News Corp, under Mr Davidson’s leadership, will retain the Medianet, Mediaverse, Pagemasters and Racing businesses. Pagemasters is expected to be a smaller operation once News Corp brings subediting and production in-house later this year. A sale of these assets could still be occur.