Australia's media landscape looks set to be rocked for a second time this week with News Limited poised to announce it is slashing jobs in a massive restructuring of the way it delivers news.
The announcement, expected today at 1:45pm, comes after it would axe 1,900 staff, close two major printing presses and downsize its flagship newspapers to tabloids.
The News Limited job cuts are likely to come as no surprise to most of its 8,000 staff, after weeks of rumours that hundreds of lay-offs would be made at the Australian wing of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.
Follow our coverage of News Limited's announcement and the fallout: 1:35: The ABC's Phillip Lasker takes a look at News Limited's bid for Consolidated Media and the ongoing speculation about the News Limited restructuring: 1:25: ABC News 24 will be Kim Williams announcement on the News Limited shake-up from 2:00pm (AEST).
1:10: On the back of News Limited's $1.97 billion offer, shares in Consolidated Media have risen 30 cents to $3.38.
1:05: Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he does not want to give advice to media organisations about takeovers or ownership: "It is very important for media organisations to be profitable.
The traditional news media obviously has a serious challenge on its hands from online media and I'm not going to get into the business of telling the different news organisations how they should run themselves." 12:50: Damon Kitney writes in an online piece for the Australian that News Limited is reducing its eastern seaboard operations from 19 to five: "News chief executive Kim Williams briefed senior staff this morning on the changes, which will take between 18 and 24 months to implement.
"The remaining divisions will be News NSW, News Qld, News Victoria, The Australian and NewsLifeMedia, the company formerly known as News Magazine.
"Mr Williams declined to put a number on redundancies across the group, although he hoped much of the staff reduction could be attained through natural attrition." But Mr Williams told staff that the organisation remained committed to print: "We believe in print and are committed to print.
We are obviously not going to be pollyannas about that.
But we still sell around 11 million newspapers a week.
Advertisers still find huge value in print." 12:25: Opposition communications spokesman in Sydney this morning that he is concerned about the decline of newspapers: "I've got no hang ups or sentimentality about paper and printed things.Â My concern is that they have been the great foundations of journalism and the biggest institutional sources of news and journalistic work, the biggest organs in that media area.
And of course as they decline, what takes their place?Â " Mr Turnbull goes on to say that with the current turmoil in Australian media, the ABC has an even more important role to play.
12:20: If News Limited's buy-up of Consolidated Media is approved James Packer's hold on Australian media would be severely diminished, leaving him with just 6.9 per cent of Ten Network.
But the deal would to pour into his battle to gain control of Echo Entertainment, which owns Sydney's The Star casino.
12:15: Leigh Sales will speak to News Limited CEO Kim Williams tonight on ABC1's 7:30.
11:50: As News Limited prepares to announce job cuts, its parent company continues to come under fire in the UK over allegations of phone hacking.
The UK's Leveson inquiry into media ethics has already grilled top News Corp executives, including Rupert Murdoch, about their relationships with politicians.
, commentator Chris Berg labels Leveson a farce: "The phone-hacking affair no longer has anything to do with phone-hacking.
It's trying to make scandals out of the basic practices of representative democracy.
"Politicians cultivate relationships with journalists.
They have to, if they want to achieve their political and policy goals.
That might seem distasteful.
We all share a romantic ideal about the fourth estate being implacably at odds with the first estate.
But let's not be too delicate.
Democracy is about coalition-building.
Journalists and editors are stakeholders.
A politician that does not make friends in the media will not be a very successful politician." 11:40: Coming up on ABC Radio's The World Today, business editor Peter Ryan will have the latest on what is expected in this afternoon's announcement.
You can listen live from 12:10pm.
11:32: Some News Limited journos say they've been warned not to forward on details of this afternoon's announcement.
11:15: Tony Abbott on News Ltd's takeover bid for Consolidated Media: "It's good to see that at least some news operations are confident and optimistic about the future" - via .
11:10: News Limited staff have been told the video message from CEO Kim Williams will automatically pop-up on their screens at 1:45pm.
The announcement should give them a better idea of their fate, with predictions that hundreds of jobs will go.
News Ltd's senior editors are said to now be in lock-down in the company's Holt St offices in Sydney.
11:06: James Packer has released a statement welcoming News Limited's bid for Consolidated Media: "CPH welcomes News' proposal and looks forward to CMH and News working together to address the detailed terms and conditions.
"Subject to this CPH, considering the offer price of $3.50 per share to be fair, will support the proposal in the absence of a superior cash offer." 11:03: The ABC's tweets "Consolidated Media shares are trading 11% higher following takeover bid from News Limited".
11:00: ABC business editor Peter Ryan about this week's shake-up of Australia's newspaper industry: "The third biggest holder of Fairfax stock is warning that the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age could be closed if the restructure announced on Monday fails to turn the company around.
"The funds management group Allan Gray, which holds a 9 per cent stake, says Fairfax might be forced to sacrifice its metropolitan mastheads to focus on the more profitable rural publishing and digital businesses." 10:45: the News Limited announcement will be made at 1:45pm this afternoon.
An email was apparently sent to staff this morning saying that News chief executive Kim Williams would then give a staff briefing via video: "A video message from Kim will be made available outlining what this vision is and how we, as a company, will transform to embrace opportunities the dynamic media landscape presents.
"Today, our CEO Kim Williams will be sharing with you his vision for News as the company embarks on its next phase of growth." 10:38: Plenty of The Australian's Media journos are giving their thoughts on Twitter.
Nic Christensen () hints at what's to come: "This morning I woke up thinking I worked for a newspaper company, come this afternoon...
10:28: News Limited confirms bid for Consolidated Media Holdings: "News confirms it has put a conditional proposal to Consolidated Media, which, if implemented, would result in News acquiring 100% of Consolidated Media at a cost of approximately A$1.97 billion.
"If the proposal is implemented, News would double its stakes in Australia's leading pay television businesses, FOX Sports Australia and FOXTEL, to 100% and 50% respectively." 10:19: Senior media writer for The Australian, Amanda Meade ( tweets of snappers outside the News Limited's Sydney offices waiting for the "imminent" announcement.
10:15: Meanwhile, take a look at last night's 7:30 report examining the backlash against Gina Rinehart's move to up her stakes in Fairfax: 10:07: ABC News Online's chief political correspondent tweets that if News Limited's bid for Consolidated Media is successful "it would own 100% of FOX Sports Aust, and 50% of Foxtel".
10:00: ABC business editor Peter Ryan says News Limited is expected to announce its restructure this afternoon, which could see as many as 1,000 staff made redundant.
He says a key feature of the shake-up will be the $30 million acquisition of the highly successful Business Spectator and Eureka Report websites founded by former Fairfax editor and ABC identity Alan Kohler.
Peter Ryan also examines the continuing fallout from the Fairfax announcement: 9:58: that James Packer is supporting News Limited's bid for Consolidated Media.
9:52: "News Limited has now also notified the ASX of its bid to take over Consolidated Media.
News says the bid is valued at $1.97b." 9:49: News Ltd's move to purchase Consolidated Media Holdings is 9:45: "News Ltd has offered $3.50 a share for ConsMedia".
9:30: Reports that News Limited has told the ASX it intends to buy James Packer's stake in Consolidated Media Holdings.
It is also believed that News Ltd will announce it has bought the business news website Business Spectator, run by ABC financial reporter Alan Kohler.
Earlier: Writing in News Limited's flagship The Australian on Monday, what was likely: "News Limited, publisher of The Australian, plans this week to unveil details of the wide-ranging corporate restructure it first flagged in February, with chief executive Kim Williams and group editorial director Campbell Reid expected to hold a series of briefing meetings around the country, which will be followed by a public announcement at some point.
"Details of the transformation program, anxiously awaited by News employees, were tipped to be released weeks ago but were delayed several times as the company finalised the changes, which include introduction of seven-day rosters for its capital city newspapers, streamlining of its production, digital and printing operations and hundreds of redundancies."