Ten Network Creditors Back Takeover By U.S. Broadcaster CBS
A meeting of Ten Network creditors voted "overwhelmingly" in favor of a bid for the network by U.S. broadcaster CBS, "which overnight sweetened its takeover offer," according to Davidson & Durie of THE AUSTRALIAN. CBS lifted its bid in an "answer to an updated offer from rivals Bruce Gordon and Lachlan Murdoch," which creditors on Tuesday rejected. Administrator Mark Korda said, "I'm not an industry expert -- you guys probably all know better than me -- but I think the industry is genuinely excited about having a A$27 billion ($21.6B) big brother looking after Channel 10." Ten Receiver & Manager Christopher Hill said that the outcome "secured the future of Australia’s third largest free-to-air broadcaster." Hill: "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." Administrator KordaMentha, which earlier favored the initial CBS bid for Ten, said that the CBS deal was "expected to be finalised in weeks, subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval." Korda said, "It's business as usual for employees, business as usual for programmers and the transaction should be completed in four to five weeks" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/19). The BBC reported CBS was the largest creditor, with Ten owing the U.S. broadcaster A$348M ($278.7M) for program rights. CBS already has a "longstanding relationship with Ten," primarily through licensing its programs. Industry analyst Peter Cox said that CBS was "hoping to gain a bigger foothold in the Australian market." He said, "They are a major program supplier. And of course they supply their movies and other products into Australia. So they want to get a bigger foothold." Cox added that he expected Murdoch and Gordon would "pursue the issue further." Cox: "They have a major investment in Ten and they have a lot at risk in this process" (BBC, 9/19).