A deadline on a Commerce Commission decision on the proposed merger between NZME and Fairfax has been extended to March 15, 2017.

NZME and Fairfax are seeking authorisation to merge their New Zealand media operations. Their application was filed on May 27, and a preliminary indication was expected from the Commission today.

The Commission issued a statement saying the proposed merger was"complex" and "involves two-sided markets - advertisers on one side and consumers (readers) on the other."

The effects of the proposed merger on news content and the quality of the news media was being considered, the Commission said.


"In addition, the Commission is assessing whether the proposed merger would enable the parties to increase prices to advertisers and consumers."

A draft determination setting out the Commission's preliminary view is expected to be released by early November.

The decision-making timeframe allows for a public conference to be held in December should it be needed.

A conference would be an opportunity for the Commission to test the views of NZME and Fairfax and interested parties on the issues raised in the draft determination. The Commission would then consider all submissions and publish its final decision on or before 15 March 2017.

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.