The Government has reintroduced changes to the media ownership and control laws under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) (BSA). The Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Media Reform) Bill 2016 (Cth) (Reform Bill) was introduced and read for a second time in Parliament on 1 September 2016. If passed, these changes would repeal two of the five major media ownership and control rules under the BSA, namely:
- the "75 per cent" rule; and
- the "2 out of 3" rule
If passed in its current form, the Reform Bill has the potential to increase M&A activity in the Australian media sector. Such activity will remain subject to the remaining rules under the BSA as well as section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA), which prohibits acquisitions that would have the effect, or would be likely to have the effect, of "substantially lessening competition" in any market.