Virgin's only failure in the country so far was an unsuccessful bid with local partners for a radio license, but the Virgin Media Group is looking at the possibility of taking up the maximum 25% allowed by foreign investors in a consortium to bid for the

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U.K.'s EMAP acquires Australian publisher

SYDNEY -- U.K. media group EMAP has acquired Sydney-based Mason Stewart Publishing Pty Ltd, which publishes 19 consumer magazines, some under license to EMAP, and 30 "one shot" publications such as calendars, for an undisclosed sum.

The purchase includes Bounty Services, a product sampling and publishing company that has a major stake in Australia's baby market, and a half share of Mason Stewart's contract publishing division, which produces in-house magazines for local companies.

Mason Stewart's major titles include Smash Hits, Australian Playboy, Slimming, Mother & Baby, Pregnancy & Birth, Tracks, Outdoor and Mountain Bike.

EMAP Australia will be headed by Marcus Rich, formerly the company's executive publishing director in London. Founder Philip Mason becomes chairman.

"There are strong core advertising markets in Australia...people here have a passion for magazines," says Rich. "The performance of our licenses has been very good...however, I think some magazines could work harder to attract a greater share of mainstream advertising."

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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