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Seven net nabs Asian satcaster

SYDNEY — Kerry Stokes’ Seven Network has won the bidding for the Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s loss-making Asian satcaster Australia Television.

According to local reports, Seven paid less than A$3 million ($2.2 million) for the channel, which was launched in 1993 and is available on cable and free-to-air networks in the region. Seven also assumes ATV’s $5.2 million debt. ATV was intended to become self-financing through sponsorship and advertising but never met its revenue targets and has been a financial drain on the cash-strapped pubcaster.

The other bidders for the service were believed to include Steve Vizard’s Artist Services.

Under the terms of the deal, the ABC will take up preference shares in ATV and continue to supply news, current affairs and general programming. Seven will contribute its news, current affairs, sports and other locally produced programs.

“Australia Television will provide the platform for Seven’s plans for development in the world’s fastest-growing economic region,” said Stokes, Seven’s exec chairman.

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