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New Zealand Paper Sold to Australians

July 8, 2002

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ One of New Zealand’s last locally owned daily newspapers was sold Monday to publishing company Wilson and Horton, a subsidiary of an Australian-based media group.

The 120-year-old Wairarapa Times-Age, based in the town of Masterton, was sold for about 6 million New Zealand dollars ($2.9 million), senior executives at the newspaper and Wilson and Horton said. The official sale price was not disclosed.

Masterton is 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of the capital, Wellington.

Sydney-based APN News & Media Ltd. already owns several New Zealand publications, including eight regional dailies, the New Zealand Herald _ the country’s biggest circulation daily _ and a raft of suburban weeklies and magazines.

The Australian company is 41 percent owned by Irishman Anthony O’Reilly’s Independent News & Media, which also has media holdings in South Africa and Britain.

Wairarapa Times-Age Company managing director and principal shareholder Gordon Kinvig said the move was part of the rationalization of the industry in New Zealand and internationally.

Wilson and Horton chief financial officer Phil Eustace said the Times-Age fitted with the group’s core business.

The Wairarapa Times-Age has a daily circulation of just over 7,700. The New Zealand Herald sells more than 200,000 copies daily.

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