Journalists Calling Fairfax And Nine Merger A 'Takeover'

Many say it's not a merge of the two companies but a Nine takeover.

The merger between Channel Nine and Fairfax media has been lambasted as an "exceptionally bad idea" by former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who on Thursday joined the backlash against the surprise announcement.

Nine and Fairfax Media announced on Thursday that the two companies would be joining forces to create one of the biggest media companies in the nation.

Keating hit out at the deal on Thursday. The announcement also surprised many current and past Fairfax journalists who have said the move isn't as much a merge as a Nine takeover.

The $4 billion dollar merger deal will see Nine Entertainment Co own 51 percent of the business, while Fairfax gets the remaining 49 percent. Current Nine CEO Hugh Marks will head up the new operation set to be called 'Nine'.

“News of today’s announced takeover of Fairfax by Channel Nine will change the news landscape of Australia altogether,” the former prime minister said in a statement.

Keating said the answer was diversity of income streams for Australia’s major news outlets, "and not a closedown in news and content with major print being taken over by major television."

“This is an exceptionally bad development.”

While Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood assured employees "there will be plenty of Fairfax Media DNA in the merged company and the Board" in a statement, they are not so sure.

“Fairfax spent decades missing all the signals about the rise of the digital economy when it could have put itself in a position of relative commercial independence,” Keating said.

“If in the announced arrangement, Channel Nine has a majority of the stock, Channel Nine will run the editorial policy. The problem with this is that in terms of news management, Channel Nine, for over half a century, has never, other than displayed the opportunism and ethics of an alley cat.”

Many journalists said their work for Fairfax has been totally disregarded in the move.

And some former Fairfax employees didn't take the news lightly either.

There were plenty of other opinions from journalists and members of the public, many of them raising concerns about the future of the Fairfax brand and its journalists.