New Zealand’s striving media giant Stuff Limited was traded in a management buy-out deal for the symbolic fee of NZ$1.00 (US$0.61).
The group’s Australian owners, Nine announced that Stuff CEO Sinead Boucher would take over the company, which manages New Zealand’s most popular news website, stuff.co.nz, and titles such as Wellington’s Dominion Post and the Christchurch Press.
“The sale of Stuff is expected to (be) complete by May 31,” Nine said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.
Sinead Boucher joined the firm as a reporter in 1993 and has spent most of her career at the company.
“It is great to take control of our own future with the move to local ownership and the opportunity to build further on the trust of New Zealanders, who turn to us for local and national news and entertainment every day.”
– Sinead Boucher, CEO – Stuff
The one-dollar price indicates the challenges in New Zealand’s media sector, where COVID-19’s influence has severed revenues already consumed by global internet giants such as Facebook and Google.
Stuff’s main domestic rival, NZME, had its own one-dollar bid for the company rejected earlier this month. Stuff and NZME have both urged staff to take pay cuts due to the virus-induced downturn, with NZME cutting 200 jobs.
German magazine giant Bauer Media Group terminated its New Zealand titles with the loss of 237 jobs last month, citing the “severe economic impact” of the pandemic. Shares in Nine, which had been rumored to be keen on offloading its New Zealand assets for more than a year, were up 2.9 percent at Aus$1.41 in early trading on the ASX.
Nine acquired Stuff when it procured the company’s Australian owner, newspaper group Fairfax Media in late 2018.