NZME seeks urgent Government help to buy Stuff for $1

Latest 11/05/2020

Reported by Newshub's Lana Andelane

NZME, the owner of the NZ Herald, has filed an urgent Commerce Commission application on Monday to purchase rival publisher Stuff for $1 - a move it says will help to save newspapers and jobs.

The company is seeking urgent Government assistance to help clear the application, aiming to complete the transaction by May 31.

In a market announcement to the NZX, the company revealed that it entered an exclusive negotiation period with Stuff's Australian-based owner, Nine Network, on April 23.

As reported by the NZ Herald, the $1 purchase price excludes "certain non-media assets" but includes Stuff's material trading assets and liabilities.

In its NZX announcement, NZME said it believes the country's media sector is "too small for the current number of quality participants", calling for "urgent" consolidation in the face of dramatically decreasing advertising revenue and the current economic conditions.

NZME is the best owner for Stuff as it is "best placed" to preserve newsrooms, mastheads and jobs, according to the announcement. The company claims its acquisition of the outlet will not "substantially lessen competition in any market".

"NZME's proposed acquisition of Stuff is important to the continued operation of a robust fourth estate and plurality of voice in this country," NZME told the NZX, as reported by the Herald.

"If approved, the acquisition should lower the costs of producing New Zealand news by combining NZME and Stuff's business operations, with those savings supporting the future of New Zealand journalism by a local, committed national news media outlet."

More to come.