Nine Entertainment has confirmed that it has signed an agreement for the sale of Stuff Limited, in a transaction which is expected to complete by May 31, 2020.
The transaction will be a management buyout with Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher, taking over the business as it returns to New Zealand ownership.
The sale price was just NZ$1. The terms of the deal see Nine continue to own the printing plant at Petone and lease the facility back to Stuff. It has also been revealed Nine will receive a percentage of the proceeds of the sale of Stuff Fibre announced earlier this month.
“We have always said that we believe it is important for Stuff to have local ownership and it is our firm view that this is the best outcome for competition and consumers in New Zealand,” said Hugh Marks, CEO of Nine.
Sinead Boucher said the transaction gives Stuff, as a wholly New Zealand owned media business, far greater certainty in an industry navigating through the challenging waters of the post COVID-19 ad market.
“Today is an important moment for Stuff as a business,” said Boucher. “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. We are looking forward to working closely with staff, customers and our audiences as we embark upon what we believe will be a great new era for the business and the independent journalism it is built on.”
Nine acquired ownership of Stuff in 2018 following its merger with Fairfax Media.
Stuff Limited operates New Zealand’s largest news website, Stuff.co.nz, and also owns nine daily newspapers including The Dominion Post and The Press, the recently awarded weekly newspaper of the year, Sunday Star-Times, and the New Zealand social media network Neighbourly.