The Herald understands that the sales process for former Bauer titles Metro and North & South is nearing completion.

It's understood that the titles will be sold to two separate parties.

This comes following the registration of two new entities on the Companies Office.

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Simon Chesterman registered Metro Media Group Ltd, while Konstantin Richter and Verena Friederike Hasel registered North & South Media Group.

The incorporation of these companies this week on July 9 is the strongest indication we've had so far that buyers have been found for these titles.

Chesterman and Richter both declined to comment for this story.

Throughout the process, strict non-disclosure agreements have precluded those involved from saying anything about the progress being made.

Metro magazine was most recently edited by Henry Oliver, while North & South fell under the watchful eye of Virginia Larson. It's unclear if these two will return to the publications once they come under new ownership.

The titles are currently owned by private equity firm Mercury Capital, which acquired the Bauer portfolio of magazines across Australia and New Zealand.

A public relations spokesman for Mercury acknowledged that the sales process for the two publications was well advanced and that an announcement on the sale could be made as early as next week.

He would not confirm if the individuals behind the firms registered on the Companies Office were the buyers.

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From the outset, it was understood that Mercury Capital wanted to shave off the New Zealand arm of the business.

The future of New Zealand's magazine industry has been up in the air since Bauer announced the closure of its New Zealand magazine business in April.

Since then, subscribers have been left in the dark about when the publications would return to local shelves.

At the end of 2019, The Listener had 43,000 paying subscribers, North & South had 17,000 and Metro sat further behind with around 4800.

Speaking to the Herald in June, Bauer chief executive Brendon Hill said subscribers who paid in advance have been assured that they will get the complete number of magazines they paid for, with missed issues tagged on to the end of the subscription period.

At this stage, it's unclear if the responsibility to deliver on this promise will fall on the new owners - a liability that could prove particularly expensive with the Listener.

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A source suggested to the Herald that Mercury has struggled to find a buyer for the Listener and that it may be forced to hold on to the title. It's understood that some potential buyers have walked away from the process entirely.

This only adds further uncertainty to the question of whether subscribers will eventually see a new edition of the beloved magazine or if it will be put to bed for good.

Who are the new owners at Metro and North & South?

North & South Media is the first business to be registered by Konstantin Richter and Verena Friederike Hasel in New Zealand.

North Shore residents, they are both experienced journalists who have written extensively for numerous local and international publications.

Richter is also the author of three books.

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Chesterman is a more familiar figure in New Zealand business circles.

He was a co-founder of Coliseum Sports Media, which included $900m rich lister Peter Cooper as a director and major investor.

Coliseum Sports Media became a streaming pioneer in New Zealand when it won the right to English Premier League football (2013 - 2015) and launched PremierLeaguePass.

In 2014, Coliseum and Spark formed a joint-venture, Lightbox Sport, which controlled PremierLeaguePass.

After the end of the Lightbox Sport JV, Coliseum launched a new streaming service, the international RugbyPass.com, which won a multi-million investment from Discovery in 2016.

RugbyPass was sold to Sky in August 2019 in a deal worth up to $60m.

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