Stuff Ltd chief executive Sinead Boucher has bought the company from its Australian owners Nine Entertainment, ending months of speculation about a potential takeover.
The management buyout led by Boucher is understood to have been planned and executed very quickly, with the chief executive buying the company for a direct price of $1, and returning the company to New Zealand ownership. The sale is expected to be completed by May 31.
Boucher has signalled plans to develop an ownership model that would give staff a shareholding stake in the business.
That’s a great outcome and far better than NZME buying Stuff.
Having the CE and staff own the media company is a great model. It helps align interests.
Boucher started her career as a journalist for The Press, initially as a branch office reporter in North Canterbury, before shifting to London and working for the Financial Times and Reuters. As Stuff’s first digital editor, she was instrumental in growing the website into New Zealand’s largest digital brand. In 2012 she was awarded the Wolfson Fellowship, New Zealand journalism’s top individual prize.
After four years as executive editor, she was appointed Stuff chief executive in August 2017, succeeding Simon Tong.
I know Sinead a bit. Many years ago she had me come in and talk to staff on digital issues and opportunities. She has always been one of those in the industry who got the impact of the Internet early on, and I thought her appointment as CEO was a smart one. And even better now that she is owner also.
This sale doesn’t mean Stuff will be immune from job losses, but it does set itself up well to continue. With a $1 purchase price the focus will be on sustainability, not dividends, which is what is needed for now.