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Australian Seven Network merging with bulldozer company

Australian broadcaster and media company the Seven Network is merging with heavy equipment company WesTrac to create a Seven Group Holdings.

Seven said the new, diversified, group will hold a 47% stake in Seven Media Group, the entity that houses Seven’s free-to-air TV interests as well the digital joint venture with Yahoo!, Yahoo!7 and its magazine interests. It also includes Seven’s interest in Consolidated Media Holdings, which operates a range of pay TV channels in Australia.

The company said, pending shareholder approval at a meeting next month, the deal paves the way for the creation of a ‘diversified operating and investment group’ that is not just focused on media.

WesTrac is a heavy equipment company best known for selling trucks and bulldozers. The deal will double Seven’s market capitalization to about A$2.6 billion (US$2.3 billion).

Australian media mogul and Seven backer Kerry Stokes’ private company Australian Capital Equity (ACE) will own 68% of the new company. To execute the deal, ACE will transfer its existing WesTrac stake to Seven Network, which then becomes part of the new Seven Group Holding.