A last-ditch effort to prevent a merger between Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment has been defeated in the Federal Court.
Former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano and Aurora Funds Management had launched the Federal Court challenge after Fairfax shareholders voted for the merger last week.
Mr Catalano argued Fairfax shareholders had not been given the opportunity to consider his proposal to acquire 20 per cent of the company's shares, which would have scuttled the Nine merger.
But on Tuesday Justice Jacqueline Gleeson approved the Nine-Fairfax scheme of arrangement.
Fairfax had argued Mr Catalano's offer was not worth consideration, as it did not constitute a superior proposal.
Votes representing 88.6 per cent of the company were cast in favour of the $4 billion merger last week after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave it the green light earlier in the month.
The merger will leave the country with four major me dia players instead of five, with Nine adding newspapers including The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Sydney Morning Herald to its free-to-air TV network.
Nine chief executive Hugh Marks said in September he wanted those mastheads to retain their independence after the merger.
Mr Catalano and Aurora Funds Management have until December 7 to appeal Justice Gleeson's decision to the full bench of the Federal Court.
Australian Associated Press