November 7, 2016 / 8:12 PM / 9 months ago

New Zealand competition watchdog blocks NZME's Fairfax takeover

WELLINGTON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - New Zealand's competition regulator has blocked media company NZME's takeover of sector peer Fairfax New Zealand, though it had not made its final decision, it said on Tuesday.

The Commerce Commission said it would accept further submissions from the public and companies before making its final decision in March.

NZME and Fairfax said the regulator had not fully taken into account the "diversity of opinions" that would continue to exist in digital media businesses, even if the two companies merged. The companies would make further submissions to the regulator, they said in a written statement.

Commerce commission chairman Mark Berry said the deal would result in one of the most concentrated media ownerships in the world, with one outlet controlling nearly 90 percent of New Zealand's print media market.

Australian media companies, APN News & Media and Fairfax Media Ltd said in May that they were planning to list APN's New Zealand business, NZME, on the New Zealand stock exchange and merge it with Fairfax's local business. (Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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