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WELLINGTON, May 3 (Reuters) - New Zealand's competition regulator said on Wednesday it had declined NZME's takeover of Fairfax's New Zealand unit, saying the proposed merger would not benefit the public.
"This merger would concentrate media ownership and influence to an unprecedented extent for a well-established modern liberal democracy," the Commerce Commission chairman Chairman Mark Berry said in a statement.
Under the proposed deal, NZME, owned by Australian media company APN News & Media, would have paid NZ$55 million ($38.01 million) for Fairfax's New Zealand operations. It would also have issued new shares to allow Fairfax to hold a 41 percent share in the new listed entity.
$1 = 1.4472 New Zealand dollars Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Gareth Jones