Bauer Media stands down staff and suspends print of Australian titles

Bauer Media stands down staff and suspends print of Australian titles

Approximately 70 staff at Bauer Media will be stood down as the publisher temporarily suspends the publication of a number of titles due to the COVID-19 financial crisis.

The publisher says the impact of COVID-19 in Australia and the correlated decrease in advertising revenue leaves Bauer Media with no other choice.

Titles affected will maintain a digital presence and print publication will resume once the trading environment improves.

"These are unprecedented times," Bauer Media Australia CEO Brendon Hill said in a meeting with staff today.

"The COVID-19 crisis and the strict measures being taken to control it are having a profound impact on the Australian economy and any business that operates in it.

"This has led to a sharp decrease in advertising revenues in Australia over the short term and we have had to reshape our organisation accordingly."

Bauer Media's announcement comes just days before the group is due to settle the delayed $40 million acquisition of Seven West Media-owned (ASX: SWM) magazine publisher Pacific Magazines.

The decision also follows the German-based media company's announcement earlier in April that it has discontinued its publishing business in New Zealand.

Bauer Media NZ published entertainment, lifestyle and current affairs titles including the NZ Listener, Woman's Day, New Zealand Woman's Weekly, North and South and Next, along with a digital network.

EY was appointed to work with Bauer New Zealand to facilitate an orderly wind-down of the business.

The collapse of the New Zealand business was a casualty of the NZ Government's decision to move into Level 4 COVID-19 restrictions, resulting in magazine publishing being suspended.

"We understand the New Zealand Government's decision to move to COVID-19 Level 4, but it has put our business in an untenable position," said Hill.

"Publishing in New Zealand is very dependent on advertising revenue and it is highly unlikely that demand will ever return to pre-crisis levels."

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