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Oz’s Galazy heads for bankruptcy

Collapse may trigger sector overhaul

SYDNEY — It’s been dubbed the longest corporate malaise in Australian history, but after three years of funding crises and thwarted merger plans, beleaguered satcaster Galaxy on Monday admitted it would commence bankruptcy proceedings.

The collapse of Galaxy, which launched as Oz’s first paybox three years ago, will likely trigger a long overdue overhaul of the hemorrhaging sector, which has lost $2.2 billion.

Galaxy’s main asset is exclusive Oz rights to Paramount, Universal, Sony and Fox movies, cable rights to which it on-sells to Rupert Murdoch’s Foxtel for a reported $19 per subscriber per month.

Foxtel is desperate to get those rights without paying a fee of that magnitude. So eager, in fact, that it was willing to take on Galaxy’s $630 million of debt in a merger that was due to be consummated this month. But that deal fell afoul of regulators, who initiated court proceedings.

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