WELLINGTON, New Zealand – One of New Zealand’s largest media organizations will be sold for a dollar to its chief executive, the owners announced on Monday.
The Stuff organization prints many daily newspapers across the country and operates a popular information site of the same name. It employs around 900 people, including 400 journalists.
, Stuff had to face financial difficulties before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and has since seen its advertising revenues plummet.
In a statement to the Australian stock market, Nine said Stuff would be sold to CEO Sinead Boucher as part of a management buyout deal to be concluded by the end of the month.
“We have always said that we believe it is important that Stuff has local ownership and we firmly believe that this is the best outcome for competition and consumers in New Zealand,” said Hugh Marks, CEO of Nine.
Boucher said his plan is to transfer the ownership by giving the staff a direct stake as shareholders of the company.
“Local ownership will bring many benefits to our staff, customers and all kiwis as we take advantage of the investment and business growth opportunities,” Boucher said in a statement.
Deal ends rival media company NZME
to buy stuff.
Discussions between the two companies became acrimonious and ended up in the hands of lawyers. The High Court last week rejected an interim injunction sought by NZME that could have delayed the sale to Boucher.
Nine said that as part of the deal, it will retain ownership of a printing plant in Wellington and lease it to Stuff. He will also benefit from the recent sale of the company’s subsidiary, Stuff Fiber, an Internet service provider.
Most New Zealand media companies have struggled since the pandemic. Stuff temporarily cut employee wages while NZME announced plans to cut 200 jobs.
Last month, the German company Bauer Media closed its activities in New Zealand and stopped publishing many magazines in the country. And broadcaster MediaWorks told staff Monday that 130 positions will be cut.