Fairfax and APN confirm NZ merger plans

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 11 May 2016

Fairfax and APN News Media have confirmed they are in “exclusive discussions” to explore the merger between APN’s New Zealand business (NZME) and Fairfax's New Zealand assets.

The news comes as APN announced this morning an $180m capital raising for funds to “demerge” its assets, which includes newspaper The New Zealand Herald, to float it on the NZ stock exchange.

Current APN shareholders will receive one share in NZME for every one held in APN in a simple demerger structure.

Fairfax chief executive officer and managing director Greg Hywood says: “This is an important opportunity for all of our shareholders to be part of the future of content and journalism in New Zealand.

"The merger would enhance the position the businesses are in to continue to deliver high quality, local content to audiences now and in the future.”

Speculation of the merger has been building after APN lodged a full trading halt with the ASX over NZMA on Monday.

Fairfax owns New Zealand mastheads including The Dominion Post and The Press as well as TV Guide magazine and top-rating website Stuff.co.nz.

NZME owns The New Zealand Herald, The Radio Network and deals website GrabOne, among other assets.

APN Chief Executive Officer Ciaran Davis added: “The combination of these two businesses would provide the necessary capability to continue investing in high-quality local news, sport and entertainment at a time when advertiser commercial investment continues to fragment across international media platforms that do not invest in local content.”

In February APN announced it would sell-off its regional media offering due to a challenging environment. According to a report on Crikey, APN has been trying to shed its New Zealand business since 2014.

Yesterday Hywood responded to the Fairfax editorial job cuts. Read more here.

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