Pacific Star Network upheaval: board members resign, sale rumours

Special report: Upheaval at Pacific Star, board quits, Hutchy to take over?

There has been major upheaval this week at the owner of Melbourne radio station SEN, Pacific Star Network. On Wednesday four members of the board resigned including former Austereo exec and former CEO of the Collingwood Football Club Gary Pert, plus Michael Nettlefold who is also a former CEO of the St Kilda Football Club. There are reports Pert was planning to take a role at the broadcaster while Nettlefold was a recent board appointment.

Craig Coleman and Andrew Moffat have meantime been appointed directors with Coleman also taking on the role of chairman.

The reason given for the resignations was that a number of major shareholders had called for a change of priorities. There has been press speculation in Melbourne that the change of priorities means the business could be for sale.

Following the media speculation, Pacific Star issued the following statement to the ASX which didn’t shine much light on what could be happening:

“Following the board changes that were announced yesterday, the board has become aware of varied media speculation including articles that appeared in The Age and Herald Sun newspapers.

“The board will not comment on media speculation and will adhere to its continuous disclosure obligations.”

Pacific Star is to hold its annual general meeting on Thursday next week in Melbourne.

In addition to holding the radio licence for SEN, Pacific Star also operates the digital radio brands Classic Rock Radio, Aussie Digital and Kool.

It also publishes a small portfolio of magazines including Frankie, Smith Journal and Inside Football.

The Herald Sun has reported there could be potential for Crocmedia to take a stake in the business given the possible synergies between the fast-growing Crocmedia sports broadcasting business and Melbourne’s AM sports radio station. Craig Hutchison (pictured) is CEO of Crocmedia and its board includes John and Mark Rothfield and Bravo Talent Management founder Chris Giannopoulos.

SEN currently operates under the guidance of former Southern Cross Austereo Melbourne GM Cathy Thomas who just this week was talking about improved ratings at SEN for its male audience in key dayparts and demographics. Thomas recently hired departing Triple M Melbourne Hot Breakfast EP Jay Mueller who is expected to join SEN in February 2018 as group content director of broadcast and digital.

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