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New Zealand: Media merger saga goes to high court

 |  October 16, 2017

New Zealand’s two biggest publishers of news went to court on Monday, October 16, to try and overturn the competition watchdog’s refusal to green-light a merger.

Fairfax Media and NZME declared themselves “surprised and disappointed” in May when the Commerce Commission rejected their proposed merger.

While the Commission concluded Fairfax Media – recently rebranded as Stuff – and NZME could save money and extend the life of some publications, it said one joint company would concentrate ownership of newspapers to an “unprecedented” extent. It also said other major media outlets would not be able to compensate for the reduction in “plurality”, or diversity of voices.

NZME owns the New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, several North Island daily papers and several radio networks including Radio Sport, ZM and Newstalk ZB.

Fairfax Media New Zealand owns The Dominion Post, The Press, The Sunday Star Times, several magazines and the country’s most-visited news website Stuff.co.nz.

Fairfax and NZME said the Commerce Commission gave too much weight to plurality, which was referenced more than 300 times in the Commission’s decision document.

The companies argued any loss of plurality should not be considered to be a detrimental effect and the Commerce Act 1986 did not give the Commission scope to determine the extent of it.

Fairfax New Zealand and NZME say the commission made “errors of fact and law.”

Full Content: Stuff

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