In its announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning, the companies said the deal would unlock the potential for significant value creation by combining the content, brands, audience reach and data across the businesses, including majority-owned group companies Domain and Macquarie Media.
It owns flagship newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Australian Financial Review.
Fairfax recently spun off its highly profitable real estate advertising business Domain into a company separately listed on the ASX, which Fairfax still owns around 60 per cent of.
That values each Fairfax share at 94 cents, a 21.9 per cent premium to Wednesday's closing price of 77 cents. They did not say if this would include job losses.
The companies anticipated the deal - which is subject to approvals from shareholders and competition regulators - would be completed before the end of this year and would create a "leading independent media company".
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The most immediate changes, once the Fairfax-Nine merger takes effect, will be at management level.
Fairfax chief executive Officer Greg Hywood said: "We are confident that the strength of the combined management team and staff will ensure the continuation of our quality journalism".
Like newspaper companies across the globe, Fairfax has suffered financial challenges in recent years due to declining revenues.
The merger of Australia's second biggest free-to-air TV network with the second biggest newspaper publisher will result in a $4 billion-company that is second only to News Corp in size and impact.
The takeover illustrates how Australia's now limited media ownership rules fail to protect diversity. In a way the two birds merged as they are now one entity, but in a more accurate way one just swallowed the other.