Bauer's New Zealand magazine titles remain on the market, despite the Australian publishing business being bought by private equity firm Mercury Capital, the Herald understands.
Bauer's New Zealand stable included the Listener, the Woman's Weekly, North & South, and Metro - they have not been published since the beginning of lockdown.
It's understood the sales process for these publications - being managed by EY - is continuing and that numerous parties remain interested in acquiring at least some of them.
Mercury Capital had been linked to the Australian arm of the business as early as November last year.
Months of negotiating eventually culminated in Mercury finally signing a deal with Bauer on Tuesday evening this week.
Mercury was not initially interested in the New Zealand titles and it's understood that these were simply bundled into the Australian deal. Mercury is likely to try and onsell the New Zealand titles.
Numerous parties have been linked to Bauer's New Zealand titles, most recently little-known Tauranga-based firm Delta Private Equity.
• Another private equity firm linked to Bauer
The continuation of the protracted process prolongs the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the titles since the closure of Bauer was first announced in April.
This affected the jobs of around 230 local journalists, editors, designers and salespeople working on the magazines.
A source who previously worked at Bauer told the Herald today that even if the local arm of the business was resuscitated it was unlikely it would be as big as it once was.
The source suggested new owners would look to cut costs and streamline the business.
The impact of Covid-19 has led to a sharp drop in advertising revenue.
Data from research firm SMI shows that magazine advertising revenue dropped 49 per cent during April. The only sector to suffer a bigger decline was cinema advertising.
May 2020 data is not yet available but the figures would have been even worse.
It remains unclear how long it will take for the advertising to return and for the industry revenue to return to levels seen in 2019.
Another major challenge facing the new owner will be the burden and cost of recruiting staff for the publications that are retained.
Since the closure of Bauer, many former staff members have already moved on to roles elsewhere.
During lockdown, former Metro editor Henry Oliver collaborated with his former co-workers on a one-off e-zine called Essential Services.
Looking to launch something a little more permanent, former Home editor Simon Farrell-Green is taking a punt with the launch of architecture-themed print publication Here, which he hopes will fill the gap created by the absence of Home, Urbis and Houses.
Farrell-Green told the Herald that a fundraising campaign on Boosted attracted more than $20,000 in support, which has gone toward creating the first edition of the publication, which is set to hit supermarket shelves on June 22.
He's currently running the fledgling business from his porch in Kingsland, but he's optimistic that the community of architects and designers who have long been loyal to his work will pick up the new title.
Elsewhere, some of the staff behind New Zealand Woman's Weekly, The Australian Woman's Weekly and Next magazine have kicked off a new online lifestyle publication called Capsule. And a handful of the writers, illustrators and designers behind Metro, North & South and the Listener started creative agency Design & Type, which focuses on helping businesses stand out online.
Anyone brave enough to pick up any of the Bauer titles will have a big commercial fight on their hands.