Fairfax are likely to make cuts to regional papers following the Commerce Commission's merger decision today, the media company reports.

The Commerce Commission today turned down a proposed merger between NZME, which publishes the New Zealand Herald and owns nationwide talk radio network Newstalk ZB, and Fairfax Media, which publishes Stuff.co.nz and the Dominion Post among a number of other regional papers.

Fairfax managing director Andrew Boyle told the company that the decision was "disappointing".

"Tough decisions will have to be made in terms on ensuring that ongoing viability," he said.

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"It's too early to say exactly what that means but we're really looking at the Marlborough example with a great deal of interest as a pilot of how we do things a little differently. And that will give us some good feedback in the coming weeks in terms of how a model like that could be applied," he told Fairfax.

Fairfax-owned Marlborough Express recently went down to publishing only three days a week.

Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood believed the Commerce Commission had failed New Zealand.

"In light of the NZCC decision, an even greater focus on cost efficiency will be necessary.
Moving to the next stage of our New Zealand publishing model will involve reshaping how we deliver our journalism to local communities. Further publishing frequency changes and consolidation of titles is an inevitability," Hywood said.

"This decision does nothing to address the challenge of the global search and social giants, which produce no local journalism, employ very few New Zealanders, and pay minimal, if any, local taxes."

Horton Media today indicated interest in Fairfax Media's assets.

"Our potential interest in certain assets has been made abundantly clear to senior managers of both companies in the past," said Horton Media owner Matthew Horton.

"I am also aware of several other parties' interest in other parts of both companies," he said.