Dear BusinessDesk subscribers,

BusinessDesk has agreed to an acquisition offer from NZ Herald publisher NZME, announced to the NZX this morning.

This is obviously momentous for BusinessDesk, in operation since 2008 and as a subscription-only business and economic news site over the past two years.

I want to take the opportunity to explain why we are doing this and to assure all subscribers – existing and prospective – that our commitment to timely, accurate, trustworthy and engaging news, analysis and commentary is absolute.

This move is about investing in our journalism and our growth to create New Zealand’s best and largest business news operation.

We will continue to operate as a separate publication, with our own staff and subscription offering, but we’ll now have the power of NZX-listed NZME behind us.

For you, as a reader, there’s nothing to do. We’ll keep our site and your login details remain the same.

The purchase is subject to satisfactory engagement with the Commerce Commission, and we expect to complete in the first part of next year.

Further development of our plans has to wait until after that, but we expect to be able to draw on a newsroom of about 35 journalists once the deal is complete.

Demonstrating that this is an investment in journalism, all staff at BusinessDesk will be retained. This is about growth and the ability to be a world-class journalism organisation.

Announced today, the transaction will see NZME pay up to $5 million to acquire BusinessDesk, with $3.5m payable on completion of the initial sale and purchase and another $1.5m achievable if earnout targets are met by December 2023.

We started BusinessDesk 14 years ago as a newswire. Early last year, we successfully converted to a subscription-only news service, with more than 10,000 subscribers today.

We’ve grown from a staff of five full-time reporters to employ more than 20 people today, almost all of them in editorial.

Earlier this year it became clear our opportunity as a business was far greater than we had realised, so we started looking for an experienced partner to help us capitalise on our rapid growth.

By combining with NZME’s strong digital publishing experience, subscription growth expertise and international partnerships, along with the sales, marketing, and management strength that it can bring to bear, we are creating the potential to supercharge BusinessDesk’s growth in ways we could not otherwise achieve.

Covid-19 has created many challenges, but it has also revealed a strong appetite for high quality, trusted news and analysis aimed at business owners, investors, professional services providers and political and policy decision-makers.

It is also clear serious news consumers are increasingly accepting that paying for news is both the best way to fund high quality journalism, and the best way to ensure the best journalism not only survives, but thrives.

Subscribers can look forward to more of the same high quality news, analysis and commentary as the existing BusinessDesk team already creates, but with new opportunities created by working with the Business Herald’s top-flight team and the institutional capacity of NZME.

The BusinessDesk brand will be retained as a premium subscription offering.

NZME’s CEO Michael Boggs says: “With BusinessDesk operating alongside and complementary to NZ Herald Business we’ll be delivering an even better service to all our business readers across both platforms, and further delivering on our 2023 Strategic Goals, as recently shared at NZME’s investor day.”

Gift subscription offer

Coincidentally, we have a big subscription drive starting this week with support from the Restaurant Association and central Auckland’s Heart of the City. If you purchase an annual gift subscription, we’ll give you a $120 voucher to spend in an Auckland CBD restaurant. 

So, if you are looking for a Christmas gift that gives you something as well, check out

Finally, thank you for subscribing to BusinessDesk. We are excited by this new chapter in the story of our growth and commitment to serious, world-class New Zealand journalism.

Yours sincerely,

Pattrick Smellie