Fairfax-NZME merger ruling today

The Commerce Commission will be announcing it’s decision this morning on whether Fairfax and NZME will be allowed to merge.

If allowed this would combine most of the country’s newspapers into one company, as well as the Stuff and NZ herald websites.

Stuff: Regulator set to rule on Fairfax, NZME merger

Publishers Fairfax New Zealand and NZME will find out on Wednesday whether the Commerce Commission will let them join forces.

If the merger is allowed, what would the combined company own?

The Stuff and NZ Herald websites, almost all of the country’s major newspapers with the exception of The Otago Daily Times, a raft of community newspapers and magazines, and about half the country’s commercial radio stations, including Newstalk ZB, The Hits and ZM.

It would also own daily-deals site GrabOne, video entertainment site WatchMe and majority stakes in fast-growing community site Neighbourly and internet provider Stuff Fibre.

The traditional media business model has been under severe pressure for years due to the competition introduced by widespread Internet use and dramatically diminished advertising revenues. Online advertising is dominated by Google and Facebook.

And printed newspapers are struggling to survive.

It’s easier to do crosswords online now as well as get a wide variety of news.

Whatever the decision today NZME and Fairfax face challenging futures.

Regardless of the decision this may not be the end of it.

If the ruling is ‘yes’, could it be appealed?

All the interested parties that attended a Commerce Commission conference in December would have the right to appeal.

They include Television New Zealand, Three-owner MediaWorks, and Allied Press, which owns The Otago Daily Times.

However, the costs and risks involved mean an appeal might not be a given.

And if the ruling is ‘no?

Fairfax NZ and NZME could appeal and may already have identified possible grounds.

Those grounds centre on whether it can reject an application solely because of concerns that it can’t put a value on, like media diversity.

But the appeals process on a point of legal principle could go on for years. Both companies told the commission in March that when it came to the merger “later will be too late”.

Lawyers may fiddle while newspapers burn.

Leave a comment

15 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  3rd May 2017

    expecting the merger to go…ahead.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  3rd May 2017

      From the Comments, pretty well all of which seem to be applauding ComCom’s decision. I like Wally, lots. 😃
      Wally G
      If the Commerce Commission think competition has led to higher quality news I shudder to think how much lower a merged organisation could stoop than the rubbish we get fed now.

      Reply
      • Brown

         /  3rd May 2017

        Blazer is wrong – again.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  3rd May 2017

          😳 . Didn’t you just say over on today’s Pike River thread that if you can’t say anything nice you don’t say anything ?

          Reply
  2. According to RNZ News at 8.30am the Commerce Commission has declined the merger.

    Ironic that in an essentially capitalist, so-called ‘free market’ economy we should need a Commerce Commission to make such decisions? To maintain ‘competition’ …

    Pointedly meaningful too, that Fairfax & NZME’s desire to merge provides reliable evidence, if not proof, of the capitalist so-called ‘free market’ tendency towards monopoly, which reduces competition – the very thing upon which the so-called ‘free market’ is founded – and which we require a government agency to maintain …

    Meantime the two media giants are portrayed as pleading to the Commerce Commission for their survival against other competition … Its like a Grimm’s Fairy tale …

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/business/329961/fairfax-nzme-merger-bid-rejected

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  3rd May 2017

      as one wag said…’how come there’s only one…Monopolies Commission’.

      Reply
    • The good thing about this is that it’s due to the emergence of “The Fifth Estate” … the people … via the internet and social media … “Fake News” is one thing, and probably negative, depending on circumstances … but the absence of absolute, objective truth in most instances is the best thing that’s happened to humanity in a long, long time … pretty much everything is now perceived as being ‘subjective’ … which it always was anyhow …

      Reply
      • The question therefore becomes: Subjectively, what is worthwhile?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  3rd May 2017

          That’s true, but the next question is – if deciding what’s worthwhile is subjective, how does that assist matters? Doesn’t imply one would tend towards an initial preference anyway.

          To give an example, I quite like looking into whatever is the newest conspiracy theory, or occasionally revisiting an old one to see where things are at with any more *evidence*. But I have a preference for immediately looking as for every dubunking website for that theory too, because most of those I’ve investigated have immediately turned turn out to be conspiracy cllaims by cranks, or based on no credible evidence, or clearly faked evidence.

          Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  3rd May 2017

    pleasant surprise.After Voda/Sky knockback thought this would proceed.

    Reply
  4. Oliver

     /  3rd May 2017

    Mainstream media is dead. This is a reality check for those working in the industry. Only baby boomers watch the news. People are sick of fake news for fake msm.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  3rd May 2017

      You may be right. From what I can see a lot of the younger voters head for the social media & conspiracy websites for their fake news.

      Reply

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