New Zealand ‘Stuff’ future unclear after dueling statements

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – The future of one of the New ZealandThe media's biggest media organizations remained uncertain on Monday after a series of duel announcements in the stock market.

The confusion centered on Stuff, which prints many of the country's newspapers and runs a popular news site. The material is owned by Australia's Nine Entertainment. Like other media organizations, Stuff had financial difficulties before the coronavirus epidemic and has since seen advertising revenues plummet.

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The move started Monday when rival media company NZME filed an ad on New Zealand stock market saying it wanted to buy things for a dollar. He urged the government to urgently change the law so that the sale could proceed.

Regulators had previously rejected the plans of the two companies to merge, on the grounds that a combined company would have too much monopoly in the country's online newspapers and news.

However, shortly after NZME's registration, Nine countered an announcement on the Australian stock exchange saying that, while the two companies were trading, Nine had told NZME that he had "ended a new commitment". In other words, any deal has been struck.

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NZME then filed a second stock market statement, saying the two companies remained in an "exclusive binding trading period", which had not been validly closed.

Exactly where that leaves Stuff is still unclear for now, although other announcements are expected in the coming days. Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said he had not yet commented on the NZME proposal.

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NZME's shares rose 14% after the announcements.

Since the outbreak, NZME has announced plans to cut 200 jobs, while Stuff has temporarily cut its employees' wages. Last month, the German company Bauer Media closed its New Zealand operation and stopped publishing many of the country's magazines.

New Zealand has had great success in its goal of eliminating the virus, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday a plan to reopen most businesses and schools in the next 10 days.

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