The Commerce Commission has published a Statement of Preliminary Issues relating to the merger of the businesses of Wilson & Horton Limited (trading as NZME) and Fairfax New Zealand Limited.

The statement of preliminary issues outlines the key competition issues that the Commission currently considers will be important in deciding whether or not to grant authorisation to the proposed merger. A copy can be found on the Commission’s merger authorisation register.

The Commission invites interested parties to provide comments on the likely competitive effects of the proposed merger of NZME and Fairfax. Submissions can be sent by email to with the reference NZME/Fairfax in the subject line. Any submissions should be received by 1 July 2016.


Fairfax operates the largest print media network in New Zealand, featuring nine daily and three weekly newspapers, 61 community publications, 10 magazine titles and six websites, including It also has a minority shareholding in social media site Neighbourly.

NZME owns eight daily and two weekly newspapers, 24 community publications, six magazine titles, 10 radio stations and 38 websites, including As well as websites related to its print and radio offerings, NZME owns a number of individual websites such as Grabone, Shop Green and Adhub.

How we investigate an application for Authorisation

When we assess an application for authorisation of a merger, we carry out a two-step process. First, we assess whether or not the merger would be likely to substantially lessen competition in a market. If we are satisfied that the merger would not be likely to have that effect, then we would clear the merger.

If we are not satisfied that the merger would not be likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in a market, we apply the public benefit test to determine whether to authorise the merger.

The public benefit test requires us to balance the detriment that may result from the substantial lessening of competition against the public benefits that the merger may bring about. We must authorise a merger where we are satisfied that the merger will be likely to result in such a benefit to the public that is should be permitted.

Further details on the Commission’s authorisation process can be found in our Authorisation Guidelines.

Making a submission

Please clearly identify any confidential information contained in your submission and provide both a confidential and a public version. We will be publishing the public versions of all submissions on the Commission’s website.

All information we receive is subject to the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA), under which there is a principle of availability. We recognise, however, that there may be good reason to withhold certain information contained in a submission under the OIA. For example, if disclosure would unreasonably prejudice the supplier or subject of the information. In assessing the confidentiality of information contained in submissions for the purposes of publication on our website, we intend to apply an approach that is consistent with the OIA.