Australian newspaper publisher John Fairfax Holdings has diverted from its internet investment path to make a traditional press acquisition.

The owner of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in Melbourne is to ink an AS$155 million ($118.7m; €94.3m; £64.5m) deal for regional publisher Border Morning Mail and a controlling stake in its printing press.

The private firm, avers Fairfax ceo David Kirk, has "growing revenues and earnings" and will offer "further strategic growth for Fairfax's regional publishing businesses in Australia". It is hoped the deal will be completed in July.

Local newspapers are considered a more profitable enterprise than their metropolitan counterparts Down Under and the purchase is expected to broaden Fairfax's advertising reach into that local market.

Kirk has spent around AS$650 million on online assets since he joined Fairfax last October.

His acquisitions include Trade Me, the Kiwi version of eBay. It accounts for more than 60% of NZ web traffic, with 1.2m members who are expected to host 35m auctions this year [WAMN: 07-Mar-06]

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff