The two top bidders for Australia’s pay TV licenses were approved by the Trade Practices Commission and the Australian Broadcasting Commission Wednesday, and they now have 30 days to come up with the $ A389 million ($ 265 million) they bid.
Newcomers UCOM and Hi Vision won the tender process for the two four-channel satellite services April 30 with bids of $ 120 million and $ 144 million, respectively.
Among the latter were experienced media players such as the Kerry Packer-Rupert Murdoch-Telecom consortium, which had combined with the existing commercial TV operators to bid about $ 70 million.
The discrepancy between what UCOM and Hi Vision bid and what the TV industry considered a reasonable price for the licenses resulted in speculation that funding would be difficult for the neophytes. Bidders were only required to pay a $ 340 application fee to bid.
However, it is widely believed that both companies have put in a number of diminishing bids, which would allow them to cascade downwards to a much lower figure they can meet.