Rumours Three will close if there's no deal by Christmas 'categorically' untrue - MediaWorks CEO Michael Anderson

MediaWorks chief executive Michael Anderson says reports the company will close down its TV channel Three if it doesn't find a buyer by the end of the year are "categorically" untrue.

MediaWorks, the company that owns Newshub, announced on Friday it had put its TV business up for sale.

But Anderson said there was no cut-off date when it came to finding a buyer.

"There is no deadline on the process because the process itself, once you engage with potential buyers, will have a life of its own," Anderson told Magic Talk's Ryan Bridge on Friday. "So there isn't a fixed time on the process."

"When it comes to the rumour that says if we don't have an offer by Christmas we shut down - categorically, that is not happening."

The CEO also rejected claims the company was bluffing, or engaging in a publicity stunt in a bid to shake the Government into action and make changes to the way the television industry is run.

"To think that we would be bluffing or that we would be doing some sort of stunt  - putting our people through the uncertainty and the difficult times ahead through this process just to try and bluff the Government or go through just that sort of process - it's just completely nonsensical."

Anderson said although the company believed the Government should step in to make changes to the way the television industry operated in New Zealand, MediaWorks couldn't just sit around hoping for the best.

"There comes a point where we need to do what we need to do - and we need to protect TV and we need to protect MediaWorks overall. The business can't go on hold waiting for something that may or may not happen."

Anderson said the company had been in conversation with the Government for 18 months, and has "been very, very open about the challenges facing the industry". 

"What we've been talking about is the platform - and TVNZ going into loss - the platform is structurally challenged in New Zealand. When you've got the prominent player going into loss then you've got an issue," he said.

Anderson said the "board has a number of other options to review" if there is no sale, though he would not be pressed on what those options were.