The Herald reports:
TVNZ bosses aren’t ruling out looking at buying a stake in Stuff or merging with Radio NZ.
But neither TVNZ board chairwoman Dame Therese Walsh nor TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick talked up either possibility when they appeared before Parliament’s Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee today.
Australian television network Nine Entertainment and newspaper publisher Fairfax Media announced plans to merge in November last year, and Nine chief executive Hugh Marks has since confirmed that a formal sale process for Stuff would begin in the next few months.
Stuff assets include the stuff.co.nz website, digital platform Neighbourly, and a number of newspapers including The Dominion Post, The Press, and the Sunday Star-Times.
The company, which employs approximately 1000 staff, has been grappling with the declining trajectory of print advertising, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation shrinking 27 per cent to $40.5m in the year ended June 2018.
TVNZ delivered a net profit of $5.1m in the year to June 2018, up $3.7m on the previous year.
At the committee hearing, National MP Melissa Lee asked TVNZ bosses if they were interested in buying any of Stuff’s assets.
Kenrick said the market was dynamic, and TVNZ had a keen interest on seeing what will happen.
“What we you have to do is make sure you preserve and maintain options. We have ongoing partnerships with multiple different players,” Kenrick said.
“So we don’t rule anything in. We don’t rule anything out.”
It should be ruled out. We already have a massive imbalance in New Zealand with state owned media. We have TVNZ, Radio NZ, and Maori TV. To have the state also own Stuff would be terrible.