The Commerce Commission will decide ultimate fate of merger

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The Commerce Commission will have the final say on the APN-Fairfax merger proposal – and how much impact the overwhelmingly negative views of media commentators and hostile journos have on the ultimate decision remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, as expected, APN News & Media yesterday confirmed plans to demerge NZME, and officially acknowledged that merger talks are taking place with Fairfax Media over their NZ businesses.

“If completed, the combined company will be a leading New Zealand media business, offering depth of news, sport and entertainment coverage across a diverse mix of channels including print, digital and radio,” the ASX said in an announcement yesterday.

“The New Zealand businesses of NZME and Fairfax are, to a large extent, complementary,” says a joint statement from Fairfax and APN. “The expanded network of brands and channels would create an opportunity to deliver improved, innovative offerings to advertisers and audiences.”

NBR says an NZME demerger will be completed by an in-specie distribution to APN shareholders, giving them one new share for the New Zealand business for each APN share they hold. APN and NZME will be separately listed on the ASX and NZME will be listed on the NZX.

The paper quotes APN ceo Ciaran Davis as saying the demerger will cost $A8.3 million.

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