March 5, 2018 / 9:03 PM / a year ago

NZME Ltd says Fairfax merger terminated, terms need rethink

(Reuters) - The owner of New Zealand’s top-selling newspaper, NZME Ltd (NZM.NZ), said on Tuesday an agreement to merge its operations with Fairfax Media’s FXJ.AX New Zealand unit Stuff Ltd has been terminated and new terms must be agreed if the deal is to go ahead.

A merger deal between the two companies was first inked in September 2016 and has since been stalled by regulatory hurdles and concerns over the concentration of media power.

“Given changes in the businesses since 6 September 2016, when the Merger Implementation Agreement was entered into, new commercial terms will need to be agreed for the merger toproceed,” NZME said.

It added that both companies would continue with their appeal to New Zealand’s High Court, which last month blocked the deal, upholding an earlier Commerce Commision decision.

The appeal was heard in October after the Commerce Commission barred the deal in early May, having considered it for almost a year.

If the appeal is successful, the owner of the New Zealand Herald said, it and Fairfax plan to negotiate a new agreement.

Reporting By Rushil Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Adrian Croft and Hugh Lawson

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