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NZME, Fairfax push case for NZ merger

AAP logoAAP 27/11/2016

Media companies NZME and Fairfax New Zealand have filed a submission with the New Zealand competition watchdog in response to the issues it has raised against their proposed merger.

The submission explains why NZME and Fairfax believe that the New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) has not properly taken into account the diversity of opinions that will continue after the proposed merger, the companies said in a joint statement.

New Zealand's two dominant media players in September agreed a deal under which NZME would pay $NZ55 million ($A53 million) in cash and issue shares to give Australia's Fairfax Media a 41 per cent stake in the mergerd business.

But, that plan is in doubt after the NZCC earlier in November said it will likely oppose the merger arguing it would substantially lessen competition in a number of markets, including those for premium digital advertising, advertising in Sunday and community newspapers, and would likely lead to a paywall on one of the news websites.

NZME also said it will defer seeking shareholder approval for the merger until the competition watchdog's final decision, expected by mid-March 2017.

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