RADIO and television broadcaster Southern Cross Broadcasting Ltd (SBC) said today it was in talks with other media companies about a possible merger, takeover or acquisition.' Southern Cross Broadcasting has commenced such discussions but none have progressed beyond the exploratory stage,” the company said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

“The ASX has insisted that the company make a release regarding discussions it may have had with other media companies,” SBC said.

“It is noted that it has been widely reported that many media companies are in discussions with other media companies following the passage of legislation to relax the cross media and foreign ownership laws.”

SBC shares were down five cents to $14.70 at 1040 AEST.

The stock has risen from $12.52 on October 4 due to speculation that the company would be targeted once the federal Government’s new media laws are introduced next year.

In September the company behind radio stations 2UE and 3AW, and Channel Nine Adelaide, posted a net profit of $50.1 million for 2005/06, down 22 per cent on the prior year.

At the time SBC said it continued to review potential acquisition targets both within and outside the main media sector, and the Government’s planned media reforms were expected to provide opportunities for the company.