NZME has been declined an interim injunction by the High Court that would have allowed it an exclusive negotiation period with Stuff's owner Australia's Nine Entertainment.
NZME announced last week it was asking the government to allow it to buy Stuff for a nominal $1.
This was challenged by Stuff's Australian owner, ASX-listed Nine Entertainment, which said talks finished last week with no deal.
NZME argued in the High Court that Nine had breached an exclusive two-week negotiating period that began on 23 April.
Nine denied these allegations, saying the contract had been 'frustrated' - a contract law term that effectively means null and void.
High Court judge Justice Katz heard NZME's application for an interim injunction on Friday.
In a decision released this morning, she declined to grant the interim orders and dismissed the application.