Seven West Media Limited is an ASX-listed media company and is Australia's largest diversified media business, formed by the acquisition by West Australian Newspapers Holdings Limited (WAN) of the Seven Media Group. It has a leading presence in broadcast television, radio, newspaper publishing, magazine publishing and online. Seven Group Holdings Ltd (SGH), a company controlled by Australian Capital Equity, is Seven West Media's largest shareholder with 33.2% of Seven West Media shares and $250m Seven West Media convertible preference shares (CPS).
Seven West Media owns the Seven Network, Australia's largest commercial television network (by audience and advertising market share) and Pacific Magazines, publisher of leading lifestyle brands including Marie Claire, Better Homes and Gardens and New Idea. It also owns The West Australian (the only daily newspaper in Western Australia) and The Sunday Times (that state's sole Sunday paper), acquired in 2016, and 21 Western Australian regional newspapers, including Community Newspaper Group in a joint venture with News Corp Australia, nine regional radio licences, a specialist publishing business and WAN’s digital division.
Seven West Media is also creating a significant presence in online and new communications technologies, such as through its 50% interest in Yahoo!7, with global and local content across online, mobile and IPTV. On 21 February 2011, Seven Media Group announced its intention to merge with West Australian Newspapers Holdings Limited (WAN). WAN purchased Seven Media Group from Seven Group Holdings and partner Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and announced the new company would be known as "Seven West Media". On 11 April 2011, the acquisition was approved by WAN shareholders. On 21 May 2013, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts sold its remaining 12% stake in Seven West Media.
In addition to The West, West Australian Newspapers Holdings Limited owns a number of other media outlets.
The Chairman of Seven West Media is Kerry Stokes AC, who is also chairman of Seven Group Holdings.
Don Voelte, the former Managing Director and CEO of Woodside and a director of Seven West Media, was appointed CEO and Managing Director of Seven West Media. He subsequently stepped down to become Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Seven Group Holdings and was replaced by Tim Worner who became the CEO.
The newspaper was owned by the publicly listed company West Australian Newspapers Ltd (WAN) from the 1920s. In 1969, the Melbourne-based The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd (HWT) bought WAN and published the paper until 1987, when Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation acquired HWT. News sold WAN to Robert Holmes à Court's Bell Group in 1987  The following year Alan Bond, through Bond Corporation, gained control of Bell Group and hence the paper. This ownership structure survived only for a few years until the collapse of Bond Corporation. A newly formed company, West Australian Newspapers Holdings, then purchased the paper from the receivers before being floated in an oversubscribed $185 million public offering.
Kerry Stokes acquired 14.9% through Seven Network and he became chairman of West Australian Newspapers in 2009. Kerry Stokes appointed Chris Wharton as CEO of West Australian Newspapers and Brett McCarthy as Editor.
Seven Network (commonly known as Channel 7 or simply Seven) dates back to 4 November 1956, when the first stations on the VHF7 frequency were established in Melbourne and Sydney. The Seven Network is one of five main free-to-air networks in Australia.
The Seven Network began as a group of independent stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. HSV-7 Melbourne, licensed to The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd (owners of two local papers at the time, The Herald and The Sun), was the first station in the country to use the VHF7 frequency.[not in citation given] It launched on 4 November 1956, soon joined on 2 December by Amalgamated Television Services ATN-7 in Sydney.
TVW-7 Perth began broadcasting almost two years later, on 16 October 1959, as the city's first commercial station. It was licensed to TVW7, a subsidiary of West Australian Newspapers, publisher of The West Australian. BTQ-7 followed on 1 November, signing on as Brisbane's second commercial television station.
Perth-based businessman Robert Holmes à Court, through his business the Bell Group, bought TVW-7 from its original owners, West Australian Newspapers in 1982. The Herald and Weekly Times, owner of HSV-7 and ADS-7, was sold to Rupert Murdoch in December 1986. Murdoch's company, News Limited, sold off HSV to Fairfax soon afterwards, for $320 million. Fairfax went on to axe a number of locally produced shows in favour of networked content from its Sydney counterpart, ATN-7 (also owned by Fairfax at the time).
In 1987, Fairfax sold off its stations to Qintex Ltd., owned by businessman Christopher Skase. Qintex had previously bought, and subsequently sold off, stations in Brisbane and regional Queensland before taking control of the network. The next year, another new logo was introduced along with evening soap opera Home and Away and a relaunched Seven National News, now known as Seven News. The network expanded in 1988 when Skase bought out TVW for $130 million.
A failed $1.5 billion bid for MGM Studios in the same year sent Qintex into receivership. Christopher Skase fled Australia in 1990 in order to escape extradition. The business' assets were bundled together by receivers and made into a new company, the Seven Network Limited, in 1991.
The network was re-listed as a public company on the stock exchange in 1993 with News Limited holding 14.9% and Telstra holding 10%. In 1995 Stokes acquired 19.9% of the public company and was elected chairman. Shortly after it acquired Sunshine Television, a Seven Network affiliate in regional Queensland, Sunshine Television's regional stations effectively became a part of the Seven Network, identical in appearance and programming to the rest of the business' stations. Seven Queensland won the annual audience ratings for the first time in 1998.
The year 2000 saw Seven as the host broadcaster for the Sydney Olympics. The Network adopted a new logo. In 2003, Stokes appointed David Leckie as CEO of Seven and Peter Meakin as Head of News and Current Affairs. In January 2006, the Seven Network, Pacific Magazine and online portal Yahoo! Australia and New Zealand combined in a joint venture to form Yahoo!7, representing all three companies' online assets. This venture is now Australia's most popular internet portal and the joint venture is driving a range of online and IPTV businesses. Seven is building and acquiring a range of broadband businesses, including wireless broadband group Unwired, VOIP operator Engin and has become the Australian licensee for TiVo, due to be launched in 2008. The group has also established a strategic 20 per cent shareholding in West Australian Newspapers Ltd.
Since 2007, the Seven Network has been the highest rating television network in Australia, ahead of the Nine Network, Network Ten, ABC and SBS. In 2011 the Seven Network won all 40 out of 40 weeks of the ratings season for total viewers. Seven is the first to do this since the introduction of the OZtam ratings system in 2001. As of 2014[update] it was the second largest network in the country in terms of population reach.
68% owned by Kerry Stokes (as of 2014[update]), Seven Network is a network of commercial free-to-air television stations in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, as well as regional Queensland and Perth. The platform, as well as a 33 per cent stake in Sky News Australia, now reaches 98 per cent of Australians. Seven has also established a major magazine publishing business, Pacific Magazines which, as of 2014[update], accounted for more than 20 per cent of magazines sold in Australia.
In 2006, Seven Network and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) created a new joint venture, Seven Media Group, a multi-faceted media company combining a presence in broadcast television, magazine and online applications.
7HD was officially announced on 15 September 2007, with the Seven Media Group announcing its intention to start a high definition multichannel. By the end of 2007, the Seven Network had become the most watched network in the country, dominating morning and prime time slots.
Pacific Magazines is a magazine publisher operating in Australia and New Zealand, owned by Seven Media Group. It has it roots in the Southdown Press, the publishers of New Idea and long owned by the Murdoch family. When News Limited acquired the Herald and Weekly Times in 1987, the Australasian and Argus titles (Australasian Post, Home Beautiful, and Your Garden) were added.
Rupert Murdoch spun off his Australian magazine holdings in 1991 into a new company, Pacific Magazines and Printing (PMP). Seven Media Group acquired Pacific Magazines in 2002, leaving PMP as solely a printing business. Two years later, Seven bought Murdoch Magazines, a former corporate sibling in News Limited, from Matt Handbury.