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Fairfax, NZME to appeal merger decision

Tuesday, 06 February 2018
By Print21

NZME, Auckland.

Publishers Fairfax and NZME will appeal a New Zealand High Court ruling to uphold a decision by the Commerce Commission to block their proposed merger.

In May 2017, the corporate regulator ruled against the merger of the country’s two leading newspaper publishers, saying it would “concentrate media ownership and influence to an unprecedented extent for a well-established modern liberal democracy.”  In December, the High Court upheld that decision.

Fairfax Media Group, Fairfax New Zealand (recently renamed Stuff – the name of the company’s top-ranked news site) and NZME now say they will appeal the High Court’s decision.

“After careful review and analysis of the High Court’s reasons, the companies continue to believe that the NZCC (New Zealand Commerce Commission) was wrong in fact and wrong in law to decline clearance or authorisation of the merger,” NZME said in a statement. “The findings of the High Court revealed that the NZCC had significantly understated the quantifiable public benefits from the proposed merger.”

When the merger was rejected, Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood said: “We believe that the NZCC has failed New Zealand in blocking two local media companies from gaining the scale and resources necessary to aggressively compete now and into the future.”

The case now goes before New Zealand’s Court of Appeal.

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