News Corp. Bid for Australia's Consolidated Media Wins Shareholder Approval

Rupert Murdoch - Portrait - H - 2011

With the deal, the entertainment conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch will become the dominant player in Australian pay TV.

SYDNEY - Shareholders of Australian entertainment group Consolidated Media Holdings on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to approve News Corp’s $2 billion bid for the company, which will boost the Rupert Murdoch-controlled conglomerate's presence in the pay TV market here and make it the dominant player.

The vote was largely a formality, setting the stage for the deal to close shortly. Majority shareholders James Packer, who owns a 55 percent stake in the company, and Kerry Stokes’ Seven Group Holdings, which holds 24.9 percent, had agreed to support the acquisition in the absence of a higher offer.

The deal means News Corp. will double its stake in pay TV operator Foxtel to 50 percent, making it a joint partner with telecom giant Telstra Corp. It will also become full owner of Australian pay TV channel group Fox Sports.

Australia’s competition regulator this month prevented Seven Group Holdings, which owns free-to-air broadcaster the Seven Network, from making a counter offer for Consolidated Media.