NZME, publisher of the New Zealand Herald, said it had seen nothing in submissions filed with the Commerce Commission that undermined the key arguments made in favour of its plan to merge with rival media group, Fairfax NZ.
The regulator will now consider all submissions received so far, including the cross-submission. The current due date for a decision is August 22, but this may be extended at the discretion of the commission.
In a statement to the NZX, NZME said: "NZME has seen nothing in the submissions filed by interested parties that undermine the key arguments made in its original application."
The media groups said in their cross-submission published today on the Commerce Commission website that there had been a low number of submissions - 49 - given the high profile transaction. All the submissions were from competitors, journalists, or academics and public policy lobby groups.
Many of the objections are premised on allegations of monopoly without any analysis of competition to support that assertion, they said.
"Many take a subjective, and arguably paternalistic view of what is a 'valuable' news/information service," the companies said.
The objectors complained that the merged entity would produce less of what they wanted to see in news and information services delivering.
"The Commission, which is interested in evidence-based analysis and decision-making, should treat those views with considerable scepticism," NZME and Fairfax said.
"There is no basis to believe a substantial lessening of competition is likely to arise in any relevant market," they said. "And even if the Commission were to proceed to consider an authorisation, the benefits clearly outweigh the detriments," the companies said, adding there were strong commercial reasons why the merged entity would be incentivised to maintain the quality and quantity of its news.
The majority of submissions were from competitors - with some competitors submitting multiple times - or from journalists or journalist groups.
The parties said the regional coverage of Fairfax and NZME's newsrooms, other than Auckland, was "almost entirely complementary".
There are no cities or regions where there was head-to-head competition between any Fairfax and NZME paid daily print publications, they said.
NZME owns the Herald and nzherald.co.nz as well as radio stations, and the e-commerce site GrabOne. Fairfax's New Zealand operation publishes newspapers, including the Dominion Post, and magazines and websites, including the Stuff news website.
Shares in NZME - which de-merged from the parent company APN News and Media in June - last traded at 86c.