CBS Wins Bidding Showdown for Australia's Network Ten

Getty Images
CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves

Creditors rejected a counteroffer by billionaire shareholders Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, paving the way for finalization of the deal next month.

Creditors of embattled Australian free-to-air broadcaster Network Ten overwhelmingly voted in favor of a takeover bid for the company by CBS Corp. on Tuesday.

Led by Ten staff, the acceptance of CBS' $32 million (AUS$40 million) offer to unsecured creditors also saw creditors reject a counteroffer of $44 million from Ten shareholders Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon. The pair had failed on Monday in a bid to get the New South Wales Supreme Court to stop Tuesday's meeting.

Ten receiver and manager Christopher Hill said the outcome secured the future of Australia's third-largest free-to-air broadcaster.

"We believe the approval of CBS's DOCA [deed of company arrangement] represents a positive outcome for creditors, and ensures the iconic broadcaster continues on a strong and stable footing under the ownership of one of the world's largest media organizations," said Hill, a partner at PPB Advisory.

According to local reports, CBS lifted its proposed payout to creditors from $25.5 million to $32 million on Monday ahead of the meeting. CBS is Ten’s largest creditor. It is believed the additional $6.5 million will go to 21st Century Fox, for which Lachlan Murdoch serves as executive co-chairman. Fox is one of Ten’s largest program suppliers and creditors after CBS.

Mark Korda of receiver KordaMentha said the CBS takeover would be a "short settlement," with the deal expected to be finalized within four to five weeks.

CBS still needs Australian Foreign Investments Review Board approval for its takeover of Ten.

 

comments powered by Disqus