Appeal over canned NZME-Fairfax merger begins

  • 16/10/2017

News publishers NZME and Fairfax New Zealand are set to appeal the Commerce Commission's rejection of a planned merger.

The companies head to the High Court at Wellington on Monday to challenge the competition regulator's decision to turn down their proposal to merge.

The hearing is expected to take two weeks.

Fairfax and NZME filed their appeal on May 26, claiming the regulator was wrong in fact and law in rejecting the deal.

The proposed merger would have combined NZME's NZ Herald newspaper and nzherald.co.nz website, a portfolio of radio stations, including Newstalk ZB, and the GrabOne deals site with Fairfax's suite of newspapers, stuff.co.nz and its magazines.

The commission turned down the merger on the grounds the estimated financial benefit from creating a larger, combined entity to combat global competitors for advertising revenue, such as Google and Facebook, wasn't enough to outweigh the detriments of reduced media "plurality".

The companies argue the potential benefits from the merger are between $36.8 million and $55.7m a year.

NZN / Newshub.