News Corp. Seals $2.1B Australia Pay-TV Deal With Consolidated Media Holdings
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. boosted its share of Australia's pay-TV market after shareholders in Consolidated Media Holdings "voted in favor" of a A$2B ($2.1B) takeover offer from News," according to Victoria Thieberger of REUTERS. The deal will "double the stake" of News Corp.'s Australian arm in dominant pay-TV operator Foxtel to 50% and give it 100% of content provider Fox Sports. Citi Analyst Justin Diddams said, "Foxtel and Fox Sports are going to be two cornerstone assets in the News Corp. publishing business after the demerger, and I assume the market will put fairly healthy multiples on those assets." CLSA Analyst Digby Gilmour said in a note to clients last week that after the takeover of Consolidated, pay-TV would contribute 39% of News Corp.'s publishing company revenues in fiscal '14. Gilmour estimated that Fox Sports would contribute 11% of publishing group earnings before interest, tax and depreciation in fiscal '14. The half-share of Foxtel would contribute 17% (REUTERS, 10/31). In N.Y., Gavin Lower reported that the deal will Friday go to Australia's Federal Court, which its approval investors "see as a formality," before being completed on Nov. 19. News Corp. will include Foxtel and Fox Sports, as well as its Australian newspaper assets, in its publishing arm, which "is being split from the entertainment arm." The entertainment arm "will include other broadcast networks, as well as film and TV production studios" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/31).