CBS Wins Bidding Showdown for Australia's Network Ten

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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.


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