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Fairfax seeks to appeal NZ merger ban

Fairfax Media and its proposed New Zealand merger partners are seeking leave to appeal a New Zealand High Court decision blocking a merger between its local asset, Stuff Limited, and rival NZME Limited.

Late last year, the court dismissed NZME and Stuff Limited's appeal, backing the NZ Commerce Commission refusal to allow the merger following an assessment of the likely impact on online national news and Sunday newspapers, plus reader and advertising markets for some community papers.

NZME on Monday said the findings of the High Court had revealed that the NZCC had "significantly" understated the quantifiable public benefits from the proposed merger.

The court's findings increased the range of estimated quantifiable net benefits to the public arising from the transaction, to $133 million to $209 million, up from the NZCC's estimated range of $41 million to $204 million, it said.

"However, the High Court still found that these benefits were outweighed by the expected loss of plurality in the media," NZME said in a statement.

The proposed merger between New Zealand's two dominant media players would have combined NZME's flagship New Zealand Herald newspaper and nzherald.co.nz website, a portfolio of radio stations, including Newstalk ZB, and the GrabOne deals site with Fairfax's titles including the Dominion Post, Sunday Star-Times, The Press, the stuff.co.nz website and magazines.

The companies said their appeal would focus on the issue of plurality.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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