4 Nov 2008

Uncertainty over future ownership of media group

6:21 am on 4 November 2008

The future ownership of the country's biggest newspaper is uncertain after Independent News & Media said it intends to dispose of its stake in APN News & Media.

IPN publishes The New Zealand Herald and the NZ Listener and owns The Radio Network group of radio stations which includes Newstalk ZB.

The Irish media company says it has received a number of unsolicited expressions of interest in its 39% holding.

A journalism lecturer believes Fairfax would be a likely group to take over the Herald.

Jim Tucker from Whitireia Community Polytechnic says if a bid were successful, the company, which publishes the The Dominion Post and the Sunday Star-Times, would be the only newspaper chain in New Zealand.

Mr Tucker says the danger in such a move, is the loss of competition and editorial independence.

INM has made four attempts to buy APN. Last year, APN shareholders rejected a $NZ3.4 billion offer for the company, from a consortium led by INM.

It now appears that was its final attempt.