The Commerce Commission's decision on the Fairfax NZME merger could have wider implications for competition law.
A controversial proposal to merge the two companies has been declined, although the companies can still appeal the decision through the High Court.
The decision is likely to prevent other media companies from pursuing similar mergers.
Simpson Grierson competition partner Anne Callinan says it's also a test case for the commission's ability to consider social effects which can't be quantified.
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She says it has firmly decided it can consider those effects, which will be an interesting precedent for future cases.
Anne Callinan says the Commission's focus on social effects is likely to be the focus of any appeal.