FAIRFAX Media is cutting 25 per cent of its metropolitan journalist staff - equal to 125 full-time jobs - in an effort to help save $30 million across its Australian newspaper operations.
The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has slammed the move, saying it is "appalled" and the decision will weaken Fairfax's business.
Fairfax journalists on Twitter say Australia's oldest publisher is offering voluntary redundancies at its metro publishing business, which includes masthead titles The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Fairfax Media to cut $30 mill. 125 staff to go across all mastheads, contributors to be reduced. No indication of takeover says Sean Aylmer.— Kate McClymont (@Kate_McClymont) May 3, 2017
The Commerce Commission announced its final decision a year after Fairfax Media and NZME proposed the move.
The companies sent a flurry of late submissions arguing that they needed to pool resources to compete with online giants like Google and Facebook, but the commission stuck with a preliminary decision it made in November.
The commission said the combined company would have controlled nearly 90 percent of the daily newspaper market and a majority of traffic to online New Zealand news.
"This merger would concentrate media ownership and influence to an unprecedented extent for a well-established modern liberal democracy," Commission Chairman Mark Berry said in a statement.
He said the merger would have reduced the quality of news and the diversity of voices and argued competition between news outlets resulted in better content.
Both Fairfax and NZME said they were disappointed by the decision. Fairfax said it would need to cut costs and consolidate some of its publications, while NZME said it was considering its options.
In April, the company announced a major structural overhaul to editorial operations aimed at delivering about $30 million in annual savings.
The changes affected newsrooms newsrooms at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times and WAToday.
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