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The administrator of Australia’s Ten Network said Friday that media moguls Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon have made a fresh bid for the embattled broadcaster.
A spokesperson for administrator KordaMentha confirmed receipt of a revised “deed of company agreement” (DOCA) proposal Friday afternoon as the duo attempts to beat the current recommended offer by U.S. giant CBS Corp.
In a move apparently energized by the passage through Australia’s Senate of media ownership changes earlier this week, Murdoch and Gordon will now rely on administrator KordaMentha placing the revised offer before Ten’s creditors after the duo were blindsided by the CBS move in August.
The revised bid, made through Murdoch and Gordon’s respective investment vehicles Illyria and Birketu, is aimed squarely at undercutting the CBS offer by delivering bigger returns for Ten’s unsecured creditors.
The new offer seeks to highlight the comparative risks of the CBS bid, offers to resolve the network’s troublesome content deals, and comes without any of the the complicated alternate paths to takeover that the original bid required ahead of changes to the Broadcasting Services Act.
The revised proposal includes an increase in the maximum payment to unsecured creditors from $35 million to $55 million against the $32 million offered by CBS.
Under the new deal, Ten’s unsecured creditors, excluding CBS, would receive 13.4 cents on the dollar, compared with 12.43 cents under the CBS offer. The new proposal promises to keep Ten listed on the ASX, while also liberating the embattled broadcaster from an “onerous” $843 million content deal with CBS.
The revised offer, with its new, single implementation path on the back of media reforms, also seeks to highlight its “significantly lower transaction risk.”
Lawyers for Gordon’s Birketu this week argued in Supreme Court that the CBS offer treated different creditors unfairly and was therefore a “transaction risk” and a magnet for litigation. Fox and News Corp.-aligned Murdoch and Gordon, the owner of Ten’s regional affiliate WIN, were beaten to the punch by the surprise CBS offer made Aug. 28.
Fox has joined Gordon’s Supreme Court hearing challenging the KordaMentha’s “unilateral” recommendation of the U.S. company’s offer.
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