According to reports, Bauer Media has hired advisory firm EY to review its business as the future of the publisher in Australia remains uncertain following the announcement of the closure of its New Zealand arm on Thursday.
As reported yesterday, Bauer Media Group is set to close its publishing business in New Zealand due to the severe economic impact of COVID-19.
EY has been appointed to work alongside Bauer New Zealand to facilitate an orderly wind-down of the business.
Magazine publishing in New Zealand is currently suspended as part of the New Zealand Government’s decision to move to the COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions.
Bauer chief executive Brendon Hill said: “We understand the New Zealand Government’s decision to move to COVID-19 Level 4, but it has put our business in an untenable position. Publishing in New Zealand is very dependent on advertising revenue and it is highly unlikely that demand will ever return to pre-crisis levels.”
“I would like to recognise the impact that this decision will have on our suppliers, customers and the wider publishing industry. This is a very difficult time for the entire media industry.”
Hill’s explanation, however, didn’t sit well with New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden who said Bauer was using coronavirus as a cover for a shutdown already planned.
“Within a couple of days of the New Zealand government announcing the lockdown, Bauer contacted the minister and told him they weren’t interested in subsidies,” Ardern said.
“They didn’t enter a conversation about becoming an essential service, they didn’t seek to continue to operate in lockdown and they didn’t want to use the government support to keep their doors open, so I reject any suggestion that Covid-19 and our response to it has caused them to shut their printing press but I deeply regret that they have. In my view, they should have taken it up and they should have kept going.”
Now, as reported on The Australian, Bauer is understood to have brought EY onboard locally to determine the future of the business, with The Oz reporting Bauer may be considering exiting the market in Australia too.
It comes amid the currently murky sale of Seven’s Pacific Magazines.
Last week, the ACCC gave the $40 million sale of Seven’s Pac Mags to Bauer the green light. However, Bauer chief executive Brendon Hill has yet to make a public comment on the state of the sale, sparking rumours it might not go ahead as originally planned.
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