27 May 2016

Media firms take first step to merger

2:13 pm on 27 May 2016

Media companies NZME and Fairfax New Zealand have applied to the Commerce Commission for permission to merge their operations.

APN is seeking approval from its shareholders to list it as a separate company on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges.

NZME - the New Zealand arm of Australian firm APN - owns several North Island daily newspapers including New Zealand Herald, radio stations and websites, including nzherald.co.nz and Grabone.

Fairfax operates the country's largest print media network and six websites, including the country's most-visited news website stuff.co.nz.

Fairfax's media portfolio also includes newspapers The Press, The Dominion Post and Sunday Star Times among others, magazines - such as Cuisine, TV Guide and NZ House & Garden.

The commission said the ownership structure for the proposed merged entity had not yet been established.

If completed, the combined company would own a host of New Zealand's newspapers as well as radio networks ZM, NewstalkZB, Radio Sport and Hauraki.

The two businesses have a combined workforce of more than 3000 people and former New Zealand Herald editor Tim Murphy estimated a merger could cost up to 750 jobs.

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