Media company NZME said conditions for its planned acquisition of specialist news website BusinessDesk have been satisfied and the deal is expected to complete in mid-January.
NZME, owner of the Herald, announced the acquisition late last month, saying it will pay $3.5 million in cash for the business, followed by an earn-out amount of up to $1.5 million if agreed targets are met by December 31, 2023.
The sale was conditional on no material change occurring to BusinessDesk's operations, the transfer of employees and contractors to operate the business, and approval from both shareholders and the Commerce Commission.
The transaction remains subject to the condition that no material adverse event occurs prior to completion, NZME said in a statement.
BusinessDesk is currently owned by Content Ltd, whose shareholders include founder Pattrick Smellie and Milford Asset Management co-founder Brian Gaynor, as well as a number of staff.
Once finalised the deal will result in 35 business journalists being employed across BusinessDesk and the Herald's business team. BusinessDesk will maintain its brand and would continue to operate as a premium subscription service.
BusinessDesk launched its subscriptions news business in early 2020 following significant investment from Gaynor and has recorded substantial growth since then, with over 10,000 subscribers.
NZME currently has 135,500 digital and print-enabled subscribers while digital-only subscribers now total 78,500.
In announcing the deal on November 30, Smellie, editor and chief executive of BusinessDesk, said the impact of Covid-19 underscored a strong appetite for high-quality, trusted news and analysis aimed at business owners, investors, professional services providers and political and policy decision-makers.
NZME chief executive Michael Boggs. Photo / Dean Purcell
NZME chief executive Michael Boggs said the acquisition provided an even bigger opportunity to support New Zealand's business community.
"NZME will be able to provide both BusinessDesk and NZ Herald Premium subscribers with incredibly comprehensive and trusted business news to its consumer and business customer."
NZME shares recently traded at $1.43 and have soared 121 per cent since this time last year.