Bauer pulls plug on NZ after government's 'needless' COVID-19 ban

Less than a week after the New Zealand government outlawed magazine production, Bauer Media has announced it will close its NZ business, making all staff redundant.

Chief executive Brendon Hill said the "understandable" decision to move to COVID-19 Level 4 "has put our business in an untenable position".

"Publishing in New Zealand is very dependent on advertising revenue and it is highly unlikely that demand will ever return to pre-crisis levels."

Efforts have so far failed to find buyers the business's assets - including its many iconic titles - and EY has been appointed to facilitate its closure.

"This is a devastating blow for our committed and talented team who have worked tirelessly to inform and entertain New Zealanders, through some of the country's best-loved and most-read magazines," said Hill.

Group titles include Woman's Day, NZ Woman's Weekly, and North and South. Its Property Press group produces 14 printed real estate publications totalling 14 million copies per year.

Meanwhile there are concerns for the deal under which Bauer was to acquire Pacific Magazines from Seven West Media, with reports that the German publisher was seeking to negotiate the price.

Earlier this week, PrintNZ chief executive Ruth Cobb said the NZ ruling which banned - and still bans - magazines made little sense.

"Magazines are distributed through channels which are still operating - such as NZ Post and supermarkets - "so the stopping of them makes little sense," she told GXpress.

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