NZME to pay NZ$55m for majority of Fairfax NZ assets under merger plans

Details have emerged of the merger between NZME and Fairfax’s New Zealand assets, with NZME set to pay NZ$55m (AU$53m) to acquire all shares in Fairfax NZ.

NZME logo

The deal, which is subject to approval from the New Zealand Commerce Commission, will see a wholly owned NZME subsidiary pay NZ$55m in cash for Fairfax NZ’s assets, and issue Fairfax Australia with a 41% share in the company. However that arrangement is subject to the amount of debt staying the same.

In May, NZME’s former parent company APN News & Media confirmed it was in talks with Fairfax Media to “explore” a merger between its New Zealand business NZME and Fairfax New Zealand.

At the end of June, APN News & Media demerged NZME, with the company listing independently on both the ASX and the NZME.

Commenting on the merger, NZME CEO Michael Boggs said in a statement: “We are delighted to have progressed merger negotiations to this stage and to be in a position to shortly put this proposition to NZME shareholders. The merger will present opportunities to significantly enhance our integrated offerings to both our audience and our advertising clients.”

NZME’s assets include the New Zealand Herald and six regional daily papers, the NZME radio network and e-commerce and digital classified sites GrabOne, HeraldHomes and

Simon Tong:

Simon Tong: Both businesses have a tradition of innovation

Fairfax Media NZ managing director Simon Tong said in a statement: “The combination of NZME and Fairfax NZ brings together leading and complementary brands in news, sport and entertainment content across multiple channels. Both businesses have a tradition of innovation and a combined business allows us to continue to invest in quality New Zealand journalism – ensuring a strong future for storytelling by Kiwis, about us, and for us.”

Fairfax New Zealand’s assets include, a share of and more than 60 metro, Sunday, regional and community newspapers.

The deal is subject to NZME shareholder approval, finance and approval from the NZCC and consent from the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office.

A final NZCC determine is currently expected on or before March 15, 2017.

The merger will see Fairfax Australia nominate two directors to the board of NZME who will be appointed on completion of the deal.

NZME chairman Sir John Anderson said in a statement: “The announcement today is the culmination of a period of substantial effort by both the NZME and Fairfax management teams.

“The next stage of this process is now focused on the completion of the merger, starting with putting the deal to a shareholder vote in October/November. The directors are pleased to recommend the merger to shareholders with a notice of meeting and explanatory memorandum to be distributed to shareholders in October.”

Prior to all conditions of the merger being satisfied, NZME and Fairfax NZ will continue to operate as independent businesses.


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