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Oz pay-TV bidder hires Wall St. fiscal advice

Australia’s pay-TV license hopeful Hi Vision has chosen Wall Street’s Wasserstein Perella as a financial adviser.

Wasserstein Perella’s appointment has given more credence to Hi Vision’s bid, as has a recent report by merchant bank Bankers Trust that values the two licenses at almost $ 600 million each after five years’ operation.

Hi Vision bid $ A212 million ($ 142 million) for Oz’s second pay-TV license, a high price many in the industry thought inviable.

Australian Broacasting Authority is in the final stages of clearing the bid. Once clear, Hi Vision has 30 days to raise money to pay up.

In its initial outline to potential investors, Wasserstein Perella gives new details about pay’s operation Down Under, including information such as:

o Plans for four channels comprising a movie channel, family lifestyle, sports and education.

o The company fielding several approaches from Hollywood studios keen to get a pay window for their product in Australia. ESPN is tipped as the potential source of sports programming; GEC Marconi has offered to provide system management and servicing.

o Projected revenues growing from $ 20 million in the first year to $ 440 million by year 10. An initial penetration rate of 4%, rising to 33% by year 10.

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