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Murdoch Company Increases Control of New Zealand Newspapers

August 8, 1988

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) _ A company partly owned by Rupert Murdoch announced today that it had increased its control of New Zealand newspapers with the acquisition of four new titles.

Independent Newspapers Ltd., which is 40 percent owned by Murdoch’s news corporation, said it paid $6 million in New Zealand currency (about $5 million in U.S. currency) to Brierley Investments Ltd. for the Daily Taranaki Herald and the Daily News, in addition to two weeklies, the Sunday Express and the Northern Star.

The dailies have a combined circulation of about 35,000, according to the New Zealand Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Last month, Independent Newspapers bought newspaper interests of N.Z. News, a subsidiary of Brierley Investments, in Auckland for $72 million. Brierley is an investment company operated by Sir Ronald Brierley, a New Zealand businessman.

The latest transaction requires government approval.

Michael Forbes, managing director of N.Z. News, said today that there were no plans to sell the company’s remaining major newspapers - the Star in Christchurch, the Oamaru Mail, the Dannevirke Evening News and two small dailies in the Hawkes Bay area. The company also retains the Woman’s Weekly and a number of business magazines.

Independent Newspapers is the country’s biggest newspaper chain, according to chairman Alan Burnet.

It already owns two dailies in Wellington, the Dominion and the Evening Post, the Press in Christchurch, the Waikato Times in Hamilton, the Manawatu Evening Standard in Palmerston North, the Timaru Herald in Timaru and the Southland Times in Invercargill.

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