NZME will sell the Wairarapa Times-Age to National Media Limited, with a conditional sales agreement signed and a deal expected to be completed by the end of June.
The deal will also include the sale of the Wairarapa Midweek and TA Property papers.
National Media Limited is owned by the New Zealand masthead’s current general manager, Andrew Denholm.
“It is a fantastic result for me personally but also the Wairarapa community to have local ownership of these papers. While we will continue to improve the paper it is very much business as usual,” Mr Denholm said.
National Media Limited is over a decade old, however it has been a shell of a company since 2010 when it divested its two real estate mastheads to APN, owner of NZME.
As part of that deal, Mr Denholm was appointed general manger of the Wairarapa Times-Age.
NZME chief executive Michael Boggs said it was immensely pleasing to return the paper to local ownership.
The paper was acquired by Wilson & Horton Newspaper group in 2002, which was subsequently acquired by APN.
“Andrew is a great guy; he has been the general manager for the past five years and is well established in and respected by the local community. I know the Times-Age is in great hands,” he said.
The Wairarapa Times-Age sale comes as NZME parent, APN News & Media, enacts plans to let go of the business and merge it with Fairfax Media New Zealand.
This process is subject to regulatory approval from the New Zealand Commerce Commission and has raised concern about media diversity, given the merged entity would own the bulk of newspapers in the country.
Wairarapa Times-Age has an average net circulation of 6000, readership of 13,000 and is distributed throughout the Wairarapa region, in the south-west corner of New Zealand’s North Island.
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