Bauer Media's Kiwi business purchased by Australia's Mercury Capital

Bauer Media's Kiwi business has been purchased by an Australian private equity firm.

Mercury Capital has bought Bauer Media Australia's print and digital assets, which includes brands acquired by Bauer from Pacific Magazines and Bauer's New Zealand mastheads. 

Germany's Bauer Media Group owns magazines, television channels and radio stations around the world. 

The Australian Financial Review reports a deal was signed by Mercury Capital on Tuesday night and the private equity firm was attracted by Bauer's digital potential and its key titles. 

"Bauer Media remains committed to magazine publishing. This decision supports our strategy to invest in our market leading brands where we believe we are best placed to do so," says Bauer Media COO Veit Dengler.

"We have been proud to be the custodian of these iconic brands in Australia. I would like to thank our talented teams for their commitment and the contribution they have made to Bauer Media. I wish them well for the future."

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of July subject to relevant regulatory approvals.

New Zealand's Bauer Media, which employed about 237 full-time Kiwi staff, closed here in April amid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. It published prints like the NZ Listener, Woman's Day, Metro, New Zealand Woman's Weekly, North and South, and Next.

"This is a devastating blow for our committed and talented team who have worked tirelessly to inform and entertain New Zealanders, through some of the country’s best-loved and most-read magazines," Australian and New Zealand chief executive Brendon Hill said at the time.

When announcing the closure, the company said alert level 4 rules halting the publication of magazines had placed the business in an "untenable position". The Government rejected that the COVID-19 response had led the business to shut.

Bauer isn't the only media company to be impacted by COVID-19. The likes of NZME and Mediaworks have had to make staff redundant due to a drying up of advertising. 

A short-term $50 million media support package was announced by the Government in late-April. It included $21.1 million to cut transmission fees for six months, $16.5 million to cut NZ On Air contributions by 80 percent until 2022, and $1.3 million for Government departments to purchase news subscriptions. A further $11.1 million was put aside for specific, targeted assistance. More support is expected.