Home » News Corp drafts in PwC as it deals with Meta cash hole

News Corp drafts in PwC as it deals with Meta cash hole

Meta, which owns Facebook, said in March it would not be renewing three-year news deals struck with Australian outlets in 2021. Meta’s 13 deals with local publishers, including Nine – owner of the Financial Review – were worth about $70 million a year.

Meta and Google struck the deals – worth $250 million to the local industry – to avoid being designated under the government’s News Media Bargaining Code.

Google has signalled it will likely sign new deals, although it is expected they will not be for more money.

Meta has staunchly refused to negotiate with Canadian publishers over a similar law, the Online News Act. While Google came to a $C100 million-a-year ($113 million) agreement with the Canadian government, Meta has disabled news links from its platforms.

Under the proposal being explored, News Corp Australia would be restructured into three divisions with separate balance sheets. The first would be News Corp’s free content, such as news.com.au, a second with its city-based tabloids, and a third with what it considers prestige products, such as The Australian, Vogue Australia, GQ Australia and Wish Magazine.

News Corp and PwC declined to comment.

News Corp has also extensively used McKinsey & Co, including exploring growth options in 2020 and helping with the integration of Foxtel and Fox Sports in 2018 and 2019.

News Corp staff sources expressed frustration with the lack of communication and the shrinking resources they are faced with in putting out newspapers every day, especially the large Friday and weekend editions. They pointed to News Corp’s failed $70 million investment in wagering start-up Betr as money wasted, which could have been used on editorial.

Under the News Media Bargaining Code, the government can ‘designate’ Meta and make it pay, although it is yet to do so. The process of designation would take months as it would force all sides to negotiate with a government-appointed mediator before arbitration.