Australian media firms fail in Rebel Wilson defamation suit

Rebel Wilson was awarded A$4.5 million in damages against magazine publisher Bauer last September over articles claiming she lied about her age and background to further her career. (AFP)
Updated 22 March 2018
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Australian media firms fail in Rebel Wilson defamation suit

SYDNEY: Six Australian media companies seeking to join the battle against a record A$4.5 million ($3.5 million) defamation payout to Hollywood star Rebel Wilson had their case knocked back Thursday.
The “Pitch Perfect” star was awarded the damages against magazine publisher Bauer last September over articles claiming she lied about her age and background to further her career.
The allegations were made in Woman’s Day, Australian Women’s Weekly and OK Magazine in 2015, which Wilson said damaged her reputation. She won the case and vowed to give the payout to charity.
Last month newspaper publishers News Corp. and Fairfax, radio station owner Macquarie and television broadcasters ABC, Seven and Nine joined forces to back Bauer’s appeal against the country’s largest defamation payout.
They argued the size of the damages could stifle public-interest journalism.
But Justice Pamela Tate of the Supreme Court of Victoria on Thursday rejected their bid to intervene, agreeing with Wilson’s defense that the arguments of the six firms did not differ enough from those of the Bauer appeal.
Wilson took to social media afterwards, saying the firms should be “embarrassed” for colluding with Bauer.
“I obviously don’t hold any negative feelings toward Ch 7, Ch 9, ABC, Fairfax, News Corp. & Macquarie Media — I was actually just watching the finale of Married At First Sight online — but guys, please stick to reporting the truth & entertaining Australia!” she tweeted.
Bauer’s parent company, Bauer Media Group, is a worldwide publishing house based in Hamburg with magazine titles in 15 countries including Britain, the US, China and Russia, as well as various television and radio assets.


Comcast offers $31 billion for Sky, going head-to-head with Fox

Updated 20 min 37 sec ago
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Comcast offers $31 billion for Sky, going head-to-head with Fox

LONDON: US cable company Comcast Corp. submitted a £22 billion offer for pay-TV group Sky on Wednesday, challenging an already agreed but lower takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox.
Comcast, which first outlined an offer at the same £12.50-a-share price in February, said it would continue to engage with the Sky’s independent directors with a view to obtaining a recommendation for its deal.
Twenty-First Century Fox, which already owns 39 percent of Sky, said it remained committed to its recommended cash offer for Sky announced on December 15, 2016, and was currently considering its options.
“A further announcement will be made in due course,” it said.
Fox’s £10.75-a-share deal has been held up to scrutiny by regulators, who have concerns about the influence Murdoch could wield through owning all of the broadcaster as well as his British newspapers.
In the meantime, Fox has agreed to sell many of its TV and film assets to Walt Disney, including its stake in Sky.
Comcast, the owner of NBC and Universal Pictures, said it was delighted to be formalizing its offer.
“We have long believed Sky is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Brian L. Roberts.
“Sky has a strong business, excellent customer loyalty, and a valued brand.”