In a deal effective from today, print and online publisher IT Media has bought the troubled local e-tailer FlyingPig.co.nz.
As part of the deal Pacific Retail Group bought up the remaining major shareholders in FlyingPig's holding company, Orion Ventures Limited, and on-sold the business and brand to IT Media.
Combined with a cash investment, the move gives PRG a 10% stake in IT Media, with FlyingPig CEO, Mark Battles to become group chief executive of IT Media, and also a shareholder. Other shareholders include IT Media founder, Tim Connell, with further strategic investors to be announced before Christmas.
IT Media publishes the magazines NZ Rugby, NZ Fishing, Rip It Up and Crème. It is also behind the newly-launched, Lion Red-sponsored Fire-engine.co.nz, which is described as "New Zealand's first fully interactive online men's magazine", and the pop music site Toast.co.nz.
Battles says FlyingPig is "absolutely delighted with the deal and the immediate opportunities on offer. As part of IT Media we gain access to a wide range of media channels and the ability to finely target audiences with the FlyingPig.co.nz offer.
"Each of IT Media's products is either market leader or number two in its category. Next to Amazon.com, FlyingPig.co.nz is probably the most recognised Internet brand in New Zealand."
Battles says FlyingPig will use the "significant cash injection" from PRG to speed up its break-even and to invest in Christmas retail spending. There will be five redundancies at FlyingPig.co.nz as a result of the transaction.
IT Media founder and Executive Director, Tim Connell, sees the addition of the FlyingPig brand to the business' portfolio as an integral part of IT Media's long term investment strategy and says the brand may be "stretched into new online properties".
"Online, we may see the FlyingPig.co.nz brand appearing on search engines, directories and community and content sites.
"Offline, IT Media can create new magazine titles dedicated to key growth channels within FlyingPig.co.nz, such as leveraging the current DVD database and creating a new title specifically for this niche market."