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Date set for NZ merger High Court appeal

The merger between New Zealand publishers NZME and Fairfax Media NZ is not over yet, with the companies set to appear before the High Court to appeal the rejected decision on October 16.

The hearing will last 10 days as the media companies argue that the Commerce Commission’s May 3 decision to reject the merger was not properly considered.

The appellants claim that the commission’s put too high an emphasis on the distinction between print ad digital, while not accounting for the limitations of the online sphere.

In a document outlining the decision, the commission said: “Having now completed our assessment of the evidence, our final views are in most respects unchanged from the draft determination. We are not satisfied that a substantial lessening of competition is unlikely, nor that there is likely to be such a benefit to the public that authorisation should be granted. Our final decision is to decline clearance and authorisation.”

The merger would see two of the country’s largest publishers join together, a move both companies argue would help secure the print industry.

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