The New Zealand Court of Appeal has knocked back a proposed merge of Fairfax Media’s ‘Stuff’ publication with New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) for a second time.
Fairfax challenged the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC)’s decision in December 2017 to decline the Stuff/NZME merge, however on 3 May, The High Court upheld NZCC’s decision.
Fairfax and NZME then appealed again in June, which has now proved unsuccessful.
Commenting in a press release on the failed second appeal, Fairfax Media CEO Greg Hywood said: “The decision is not the outcome we wanted. We believed the merger as proposed would have delivered significant synergies and sustained at-scale journalism in New Zealand for many years.
“We have remained focused on our New Zealand business, and will do everything we can to ensure Stuff continues to implement its strategy and continues to serve our New Zealand communities.
“Stuff and neighbourly are growing digital platforms and our new digital ventures are providing expansion opportunities. Print continues to be optimised and remains a valuable and highly engaging medium for readers and advertisers.
“I would like to thank all our people for working so rigorously and effectively through a long period of uncertainty. Stuff is in the hands of talented, passionate people who are acting decidedly and determinedly to create a prosperous future for the business.
“We will review the Court’s full judgement in detail when it is available.”
Meanwhile, NZME CEO Michael Boggs said he was disappointed by the decision as NZME is still of the view that the merger is in the best interests of both NZME’s shareholders and the New Zealand media industry as a whole.