Allied Press Ltd managing director Sir Julian Smith and Mountain Scene publisher Richard Thomas made the announcement to their respective staff at 5pm yesterday. The deal takes effect from February 1.
Details remain confidential. Mountain Scene, which was founded by Barry Thomas as a tourist publication in 1972, has established a national profile for what it terms its ''hard-news edge''. That approach will continue under Allied Press, Sir Julian said yesterday.
''We intend that Mountain Scene will continue to retain the identity with which it has become known,'' he said.
''We see the Mountain Scene and its website as a valuable addition to our current stable of newspapers, websites and television stations.''The company has a strong and historic presence in Central Otago and the Lakes District with the ODT, The News (an Alexandra-based community newspaper) and our commercial printing business, ODT Print, also based in Alexandra.
''The addition of the Mountain Scene in Queenstown complements the existing businesses, including the Queenstown Times, our tabloid distributed in the Wakatipu.
''And we are pleased that Mountain Scene will continue to be owned and operated by an Otago-based business.''
Allied Press Ltd publishes the ODT and its website, www.odt.co.nz , and more than 10 community newspaper titles in Canterbury, Otago and Southland. It also has a major interest in the Greymouth Star and its associated titles, and owns the television stations Channel 9, in Dunedin, and CTV, in Christchurch.
Richard Thomas, who has agreed to continue as a director of Mountain Scene, said: ''We're pleased to be able to keep our family's 40-year association in the business alive.
''This agreement sees Queenstown's strongest media brand join New Zealand's largest independent media entity.
''I'm 100% confident Mountain Scene's future is in safe hands.''