PBL de-merger splits media giant in two


SYDNEY -- The Packer family's AUS$15 billion ($12 billion) Australian media and gambling conglomerate, Publishing and Broadcasting, will be no more after Friday.

Australia's Federal Court on Wednesday approved a de-merger of PBL into two separately listed investment companies following shareholder approval of the split late last week.

As of Saturday, PBL's media assets will be housed in a new Australian Stock Exchange-listed company, Consolidated Media Holdings, while its global gambling assets and casino investments will be listed as Crown.

CMH's portfolio will include 25% of PBL Media, now majority-owned by private-equity group CVC Asia Pacific; 25% of pay TV operator Foxtel; 50% of pay TV sports broadcaster Fox Sports; 27.1% of online jobs company Seek; and 100% of Ticketek.

PBL Media includes 100% of ACP Magazines, the Nine TV network, 50% of online company ninemsn, 33% of Sky News and majority interests in Web sites carsales.com.au and myhome.com.au.

In May, PBL executive chairman James Packer said it was time to "let these two businesses prosper in their own right."

"Investors will have the opportunity to invest in a strong and growing pure-play media company and also in a world-class gaming company," he said in announcing the split, adding that about 65% of CMH's earnings will be generated from its "high-growth, new-media assets."