Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) has confirmed media speculation that it is interested in “potentially acquiring” the New Zealand radio assets of NZME, after backing out of negotiations with WIN Corporation last week.
SCA issued a statement confirming the rumour after The Australian reported that the company was understood to have approached the board of NZME to register its interest as a buyer should its merger deal with Fairfax Media collapse.
NZME is a radio broadcaster and publisher that owns 32 newspapers, eight radio networks, and several websites in 25 markets reaching more than three million people, according to The Australian.
However, SCA said it would only consider acquiring the company’s radio assets if “they can be separated from NZME’s print business”.
“NZME has declined to enter any discussions with SCA, citing the exclusivity provisions in NZME’s current merger agreements with Fairfax,” the statement read.
“The New Zealand Commerce Division has stated that it expects to issue its final determination in relation to that proposed merger by 15 March.”
The news comes after SCA withdrew from discussions with WIN Corporation to sell its northern NSW television assets and acquire WIN’s Wollongong radio station, i98FM, earlier this month.
February has been a big month for SCA, with the company announcing last week double-digit profit growth for the first half of the 2017 financial year despite a weak advertising market.