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NZME requests urgent Government action to protect news media and jobs in New Zealand given significant adverse impacts of COVID-19 on the sector

Monday 11th May 2020

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NZME Limited (NZX: NZM , ASX: NZM) (“NZME”) has written to the Government today seeking urgent legislation authorising NZME, or its nominee, to acquire the shares in Stuff Limited by 31 May 2020. NZME is not seeking financial assistance from Government to support the purchase of Stuff.

NZME is taking these steps to advance its offer to acquire Stuff from Fairfax Corporation Pty Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASX-listed company Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Limited (ASX: NEC) (“Nine”) for $1*. On 23 April 2020, NZME and Nine agreed an exclusive negotiation period. With Government support, NZME is aiming to complete the transaction by 31 May 2020.

NZME has been engaging with the New Zealand Commerce Commission (the “Commission”) and has filed for clearance today requesting that the Commission consider the application under urgency. NZME fully respects the Commission’s processes. NZME recognises, however, that the clearance process involves certain necessary steps and those steps can take some time, even where an application has been sought under urgency.

NZME believes that the New Zealand media sector is too small for the current number of quality participants and consolidation is urgent in the face of dramatically declining advertising revenue and current general economic conditions. NZME continues to believe that it is the best owner for Stuff as it is best placed to preserve mastheads, newsrooms and jobs. NZME considers that in the current New Zealand media landscape, NZME’s acquisition of Stuff will not substantially lessen competition in any market.

NZME’s proposed acquisition of Stuff is important to the continued operation of a robust fourth estate and plurality of voice in this country. If approved, the acquisition should lower the costs of producing New Zealand news by combining NZME and Stuff’s business operations, with those savings supporting the future of New Zealand journalism by a local, committed national news media outlet.

*Excluding certain non-media assets but including Stuff’s material trading assets and liabilities.

Source: NZME Limited

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