Faced with increasing competition and declining advertising revenues, New Zealand's two biggest newspaper publishers, Fairfax and NZME, had a brilliant idea: "let's form a monopoly!" Fortunately for the rest of us, the Commerce Commission has said "no":
Two of the country's largest media groups should not be allowed to combine their businesses, the country's competition watchdog says.Good. The proposed level of media concentration is simply unhealthy, both for our democracy and our society, and I'm surprised that the two companies thought they had any chance of getting away with it. You'd hope that this would result in NZME and Fairfax trying to find some other way forward - making a better product that people actually want to pay for, perhaps? Instead, I expect they'll whine, sue, and then demand the government legislate to exempt them from monopoly protections. Because the last thing NZ business management ever does is its job...
The Commerce Commission has given a preliminary "no" to a merger of Fairfax Media and NZME in a draft ruling released on Tuesday. A final decision on the media shake-up is due by March 15.
NZME's shares crashed 23 per cent to a record low of 51c in late morning trading, sending the company's market value under $100 million for the first time.