SYDNEY: US broadcaster CBS’s bid to buy Australia’s third-largest television network was approved by creditors and staff on Tuesday, paving the way for the takeover despite a rival offer by media mogul Lachlan Murdoch.
The tussle for the embattled Ten Network came after it went into voluntary administration in June when two billionaire backers — Murdoch and Bruce Gordon — refused to continue guaranteeing a key loan.
CBS sealed the deal with Ten’s administrators KordaMentha, but reportedly sweetened its bid late on Monday after a higher proposal by News Corporation co-chair Murdoch and Gordon, the owner of regional network WIN.
“On the number, it was an overwhelming vote in favour of CBS,” administrator Mark Korda told reporters.
“I think the industry is genuinely excited about having a Aus$27 billion (US$22 billion) big brother looking after Channel Ten.”
Korda said he expected Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, which has to approve the bid, would announce its decision by the end of September and the acquisition, which also requires court approval, should be finalised in “four to five weeks”.
Christopher Hill, a partner at Ten’s receiver PPB Advisory, said the support for CBS’s offer “ensures the iconic broadcaster continues on a strong and stable footing”. — Reuters