End near for Australis

Telstra court action leads to liquidator appointment

SYDNEY — Pay TV operator Australis Media moved a step closer to extinction Monday when the New South Wales Supreme Court appointed a liquidator of the company.

This was in response to a court action by Telstra (News Corp.’s partner in feevee company Foxtel) to wind up Australis.

Australis defaulted on its regular monthly payment of about $4.5 million to the U.S. studios, due last Friday, for its film and general entertainment channels, and has until midnight Wednesday to pay up. Failing that, Foxtel takes control of that programming.

However, Australis’ receivers, who are looking to sell the company’s assets, say they expect to conclude negotiations “with various parties” (believed to include cabler Optus Vision and regional pay TV firm Austar) by Wednesday.

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