APN New Zealand, TRN and e-commerce business GrabOne have been renamed New Zealand Media & Entertainment (NZME.) in what chief executive Jane Hastings describes as "the next logical step" regardless of a possible market listing for the company.
Australia's APN News & Media indicated last month it was exploring a market listing for the New Zealand operations of the business, which includes the New Zealand Herald. At the time it told the market it had hired corporate advisers Grant Samuel to help in a possible sale process, with an initial public offer (IPO) and NZX listing of the New Zealand assets being one consideration.
Hastings said yesterday she could not comment on the IPO process but that bringing the businesses together was always going to be an important part of the growth strategy for the group. Brands such as the New Zealand Herald, NewstalkZB and GrabOne would not change, Hastings said. Subscribers would continue to get the paper delivered and there will be no change to billing at this time.
Unification behind the NZME. name was about removing the complexity of the structure for customers, she said.
"Right now we're seen as a publishing business, a radio business and an e-commerce business," she said. "But clients don't come to us and say 'I want to buy publishing'. They say: 'I have a brand, this is the audience I'm after. How can you connect my brand with that audience?'"
Between them the three businesses had a vast wealth of content and this was an opportunity to repackage that and better leverage the audience they had, Hastings said.
"When I talk to the customers and advertisers, about bringing the pieces together, the comments are: 'that makes sense, when can we start engaging in that way?'."
NZME. brands will be grouped into three categories - News, Sports and Entertainment - which Hastings points out have a monthly audience reach of 2.2 million, 1.1 million and 2.7 million respectively. The combined brands of NZME. reach 2.9 million New Zealanders each week.
The merger did represent a big cultural change. "When you're merging three companies into one company it is about finding the similarities between the content."
NZME. would also put emphasis on the events management business.
"We have been in the events business but it has been the best kept secret," Hastings says. "You take the Mood of the Boardroom, the NewstalkZB Leaders Breakfasts, the iheart concerts - we're already doing it. NZME. will enable us to expand that offering and grow that from a revenue perspective."