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New Zealand: Antitrust regulator proposes blocking media merger

 |  November 9, 2016

The proposed merger of New Zealand’s top two news media companies, and Fairfax will reduce competition, the country’s antitrust regulator concluded and proposed to block the deal.

The merger would result in one media outlet controlling nearly 90 percent of New Zealand’s print media market, the New Zealand Commerce Commission Chairman Mark Berry said in a Nov. 8 statement. “This would be the second highest level of print media ownership in the world, behind only China,” he said.

The merged company also would control New Zealand’s two largest news websites and would own one of New Zealand’s two largest commercial radio companies. “All this would result in an unprecedented level of media concentration for a well-established liberal democracy,” the commission said in its Nov. 8 preliminary determination.

The commission said that the proposed merger of NZME and Fairfax would reduce competition and is unlikely to benefit the public. The merger would lead to higher prices or lower quality in several markets, including premium digital advertising, online news and information services, Sunday newspapers and community newspapers, the commission said.

Full Content: Bloomberg

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