Fairfax And APN Confirm Talks To Merge Kiwi Assets

Fairfax And APN Confirm Talks To Merge Kiwi Assets
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Two mammoth publishers are set to bring their New Zealand assets together as the media landscape continues to be disrupted.

Fairfax Media and APN News & Media confirmed this morning the companies were in “exclusive talks” on a merger of Fairfax New Zealand and APN’s Kiwi venture NZME. Still, the statement issued by Fairfax does not confirm the merger will actually happen, albeit the suggestion has been in the media for a while.

The transaction is subject to the agreement of the respective Boards of the businesses, but if it all goes ahead, should be completed by the end of 2016.

“This is an important opportunity for all of our shareholders to be part of the future of content and journalism in New Zealand,” said Greg Hywood, CEO of Fairfax Media. “The merger would enhance the position the businesses are in to continue to deliver high quality, local content to audiences now and in the future.”

The news comes as Fairfax issues even more redundancies in its newsrooms, coming off its 120 employees punted a few weeks ago.

APN News & Media hasn’t had a smooth sail either. The publishing company recently announced its intentions to sell off its regional media assets, a move the journalistic union MEAA condemned.

Still, Ciaran Davis, CEO of APN News & Media said the merger between the New Zealand companies is an “exciting opportunity” for shareholders.

“The combination of these two businesses would provide the necessary capability to continue investing in high-quality local news, sport and entertainment at a time when advertiser commercial investment continues to fragment across international media platforms that do not invest in local content,” he said.

Simon Tong, the managing director of Fairfax NZ, said: “As the tastes and habits of media consumers continue to evolve, so too do the needs of advertisers looking to reach these audiences. The depth and breadth of the combined business would be a win for audiences, and also enable us to create innovative solutions for advertisers based on the best of both of us.”

Michael Boggs, chief executive of NZME added: “NZME has already demonstrated the significant benefits that can be achieved by combining news media, digital, ecommerce and radio operations. This merger offers a compelling opportunity to develop these important media brands in providing relevant and innovative news, sport and entertainment content for New Zealanders long into the future.”

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