Bauer's magazine business has been sold to a private equity firm.
Bauer Media Group confirmed details first published in the Australian Financial Review that Mercury Capital has bought both the Australian and New Zealand operations of the media company.
"Bauer Media remains committed to magazine publishing," said Bauer Media chief operations officer Veit Dengler today.
"This decision supports our strategy to invest in our market-leading brands where
we believe we are best placed to do so.
"We have been proud to be the custodian of these iconic brands in Australia. I would like to thank our talented teams for their commitment and the contribution they have made to
Bauer Media. I wish them well for the future."
The sale is expected to be completed by the end of July.
Bauer's New Zealand stable included the Listener, the Woman's Weekly, North & South, and Metro - they have not been published since the beginning of lockdown and it is unclear how many will return to news-stands. Bauer has continued to distribute the Australian version of Woman's Day in New Zealand in recent weeks.
Mercury is headed by Kiwi-born Clark Perkins, a former Goldman Sachs deal maker, and includes high-profile New Zealand directors such as Sky TV founder Craig Heatley, Tom Sturgess and Geoff Ricketts.
The AFR reported that the deal was finally signed on Tuesday night after months of talks.
The future of New Zealand's magazine industry was left in serious doubt in April when German company Bauer announced the closure of its magazine business in New Zealand.
This affected the jobs of around 230 local journalists, editors, designers and salespeople working on the magazines.
When the closure of Bauer was announced, Mercury quickly emerged as the front-runner for the business in this market.
Mercury has made about a dozen investments in Australia and New Zealand including printing company Blue Star, which runs Webstar NZ, previously one of Bauer's bigger clients.
The possible closure of Bauer titles came as big blow to a sector that has already been put under strain by the steady decline of print over the past decade.
It was not, however, the only private equity firm interested in the business. Speculation in recent weeks had also linked relatively unknown Tauranga-based firm Delta Private Equity to the business.
Whether the Mercury deal means that all the publications will return to the local market is yet to be seen.
One problem the new owners could face is that many of the former staff members have already moved onto other jobs and projects.
During lockdown, former Metro editor Henry Oliver collaborated with his former co-workers on a one-off e-zine called Essential Services.
Looking to launch something a little more permanent, former Home editor Simon Farrell-Green is taking a punt with the launch of architecture-themed print publication Here, which he hopes will fill the gap created by the absence of Home, Urbis and Houses.
Farrell-Green told the Herald that a fundraising campaign on Boosted attracted more than $20,000 in support, which has gone toward creating the first edition of the publication, which is set to hit supermarket shelves on June 22.
He's currently running the fledgling business from his porch in Kingsland, but he's optimistic that the community of architects and designers who have long been loyal to his work will pick up the new title.
Elsewhere, some of the staff behind New Zealand Woman's Weekly, The Australian Woman's Weekly and Next magazine have kicked off a new online lifestyle publication called Capsule. And a handful of the writers, illustrators and designers behind Metro, North & South and the Listener started creative agency Design & Type, which focuses on helping businesses stand out online.
It's unclear how many of these staffers would be willing to return to the previous publications they worked on.