High Court of New Zealand dismisses appeal of NZCC decision declining Fairfax New Zealand / NZME merger clearance or authorisation

19 December 2017

Fairfax Media Limited [ASX:FXJ] (“Fairfax” or “Company”) today announced its Fairfax New Zealand Limited business has been advised that the High Court of New Zealand has dismissed the appeal of the New Zealand Commerce Commission’s (“NZCC”) decision not to clear or authorise Fairfax New Zealand’s proposed merger with NZME. 

Fairfax and NZME appealed the NZCC’s 3 May 2017 decision declining to clear or authorise the transaction after an 18-month process. 

The appeal was heard in October 2017. 

Fairfax Media Chief Executive Officer Greg Hywood said: “The High Court’s decision is disappointing. We will review the Court’s full judgment in detail when it is available. 

“While the merger brought synergies that would have sustained journalism at scale in New Zealand for many years, our New Zealand business has continued to implement its own strategy and shape a separate future.

“Our New Zealand business is embracing radical change, becoming more dynamic and cost efficient, and continuing to grow a diversified revenue mix of digital products and services to support New Zealand journalism. 

“Stuff continues to grow and cement its place as the leading local site. We now have 100 per cent ownership of Neighbourly, the second-fastest growing digital brand in NZ. Together, Stuff and Neighbourly have more than 1 million unduplicated members. 

“We continue to look for partnerships to support growth into other new areas, as we have done with our ISP, energy and health insurance products. In the last several weeks we launched Stuff Pix – a TVOD movie streaming venture for Stuff Fibre; Done – a health insurance partnership with NIB; and energyclubnz – our retail electricity partnership promoting low cost power for Kiwis. 

“I would like to thank all our people for working so rigorously and effectively through a lengthy period of uncertainty.

“This shows the business is in the hands of talented, passionate people who will carve out a prosperous future for the company.”