New Zealand regulators reject media merger in initial ruling

New Zealand regulators have made a preliminary decision to reject a merger between the country's two main newspaper groups.

In the decision released Tuesday, New Zealand's Commerce Commission said the proposed merger would result in one company controlling nearly 90 percent of the nation's print media market and would decrease the quality of stories and opinion.

The proposed merger would have combined the New Zealand newspapers, radio stations and websites owned by NZME and Fairfax Media. NZME publishes the nation's largest daily newspaper, The New Zealand Herald, while Fairfax publishes the next two biggest dailies.

Fairfax said the two companies would take time to review the decision and provide more information to the commission. A final decision is expected by March.

NZME shares were trading down 20 percent Tuesday.