AUCKLAND, Friday: Bauer NZ – widely pilloried for gutting the NZ magazine sector – has partially redeemed itself by selling a chunk of its portfolio to Sydney-based private equity company Mercury Capital, and other buyers – all of whom intend to revive the magazines.
Mercury said the titles it bought will resume publication “immediately”.
These include Woman’s Day, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, Australian Women’s Weekly NZ, Your Home & Garden, NZ Listener, and Air NZ’s Kia Ora. The portfolio also includes websites, including Property Press.
Bauer has separately sold North & South to independent publishers Konstantin Richter & Verena Friederike Hasel (both well-known writers), and Metro to Simon Chesterman. Both will resume publication “as soon as possible”.
Bauer AUNZ ceo Brendon Hill – who will continue in the role under Mercury – said he was “delighted”.
“The return of our New Zealand operation is a green shoot during a challenging time and hopefully a sign of more positive news to come in the local media industry,” he said in a statement.
“The business will continue to trade under the Bauer name in NZ and Australia while a rebrand is under way.”
“We had always remained hopeful that we would be able to resume operations – the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and a more promising advertising market has allowed us to do that.
“As conditions improve, we hope to continue to expand our NZ operations,” he said.
The New Zealand business will be headed up by Stuart Dick as general manager and Sarah Henry as editorial director. They who will be joined by a team of around 40 local editorial and advertising personnel.
Operational support will be based in the Australian offices.
Mercury Capital said it had sold additional titles to a variety of publishers.
North & South is going to independent publishers Konstantin Richter and Verena Friederike Hasel and Metro to Simon Chesterman.
Both magazines will resume publication as soon as possible.
“Mercury is headed by NZ-born Clark Perkins, and includes Sky TV founder Craig Heatley.”
A sale for Bauer’s remaining titles, Next, Taste, Fashion Quarterly, Home and Simply You are is currently being negotiated, Hill said.
Delivery of magazines will resume in early September.
The business will continue to trade under the Bauer name in New Zealand and Australia while a rebrand is underway, with the new brand and strategy set to be announced in the coming months.
Bauer’s magazine business was sold to Mercury in June.
Mercury is headed by Kiwi-born Clark Perkins, a former Goldman Sachs dealmaker, and includes high-profile New Zealand directors such as Sky TV founder Craig Heatley, Tom Sturgess and Geoff Ricketts.
When the closure of Bauer was announced, Mercury quickly emerged as the front-runner for the business in this market.
Mercury has made about a dozen investments in Australia and New Zealand including printing company Blue Star, which runs Webstar NZ, previously one of Bauer’s bigger clients.
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