MediaWorks' chief financial officer Ciara McGuigan has jumped ship, moving to TVNZ just one month after the TV3 owner inked a A$35m merger deal with ASX-listed QMS Media.
The timing of her departure is interesting given recent comments from MediaWorks chief executive Michael Anderson describing the QMS deal as an "exciting opportunity" for the company.
Group financial controller Barry Sadlier has been appointed acting CFO while the company searches for a replacement, a spokeswoman said.
McGuigan joined MediaWorks as CFO in February 2017 following a nine-year stint at Vodafone New Zealand.
Meanwhile, QMS has confirmed it has been negotiating to buy TLA Australia, a unit of sports marketing, events and merchandise company TLA Worldwide.
In a notice to the ASX late last month, QMS said discussions were preliminary and no definitive agreement had been reached.
"If a transaction is successfully concluded QMS will consider its various options for funding at the relevant time."
The planned deal follows a strategic realignment of the company's businesses sparked by the merger with MediaWorks.
QMS said it will split the company into three units while considering options for its sports business including the possibility of pursuing future growth opportunities, locally and internationally.
The company has appointed CLSA Australia to undertake the review of options for the sports unit.
Pending Overseas Investment approval, QMS will take a 40 per cent stake in MediaWorks with US hedge fund Oaktree retaining a 60 per cent shareholding. The Australian company will also receive a A$35m payment to extinguish a related party loan.
MediaWorks is expected to release its financial results for the year to December 2018 in May. The company reported a bottom line loss of $5.7m in 2017, a significant improvement on the $14.8m loss the previous year.
The company has had a turbulent decade, first labouring under debts of nearly $800m following a disastrous leveraged buyout by Australia's Ironbridge Capital, and then a disruptive tenure under former chief executive Mark Weldon dominated by high-profile staff losses and damaging leaks.