Time Warner Reportedly Mulling Bid for Australia's Ten Network

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Discovery Communications is also believed to be eyeing the TV company, with Time Warner reportedly considering a $590 million offer

Time Warner recently approached Australia's Ten Network about a possible takeover bid, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported Monday.‎

The report said that the entertainment conglomerate, led by CEO Jeff Bewkes, signaled it may be willing to offer $590 million (A$680 million) for the company.‎ The AFR report cited a letter from Time Warner senior vp James Burtson to investment bank Citi, which is advising Ten, to “express our interest in pursuing a possible acquisition” of the free-to-air network.

The letter emphasized that the approach was not binding and was “only intended to facilitate further discussions," it said. A Time Warner spokesman declined to comment.

Ten investors include News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch and media entrepreneur James Packer and other businessmen who own a 40 percent stake in Ten.

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“Building an international footprint for our networks business is a strategic priority for Turner, and we are excited about the opportunity to acquire a strong media asset in an attractive ­geographic market," the AFR quoted from the TW letter.

The paper had on Thursday reported that Discovery Communications has teamed up with Foxtel, jointly owned by News Corp and telecom giant Telstra, to consider a bid for Ten.

Ten confirmed it was exploring its “strategic options," including a possible sale, on Thursday. It said: “While a number of potential strategic options have been considered to date, there is no guarantee any transaction will eventuate." Suitors are expected to attend management presentations starting this week, with hopes to complete the sales process by the end of November, the AFR said.

Viacom acquired U.K. broadcaster Channel 5 earlier this year as U.S. media giants have been looking for growth abroad amid a more mature U.S. market.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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