Revenue: $1.35 billion*
Loss: $146.88 million*
Australia’s biggest media conglom has shaken off last year’s stench of corporate scandal and a $42.3 million loss to enjoy a return to form for its flagship Nine Network.
PBL — 37% owned by Kerry Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings — comprises leading TV web Nine, as well as leading magazine publisher Australian Consolidate Press, leading cabler Foxtel (25%); Fox Sports (50%); and feevee Sky News (33%), among other media assets. Company also has a 21% stake in Fox-based New Regency.
It sold out of data services company Axiom — in line with a 2001 pledge by Packer that PBL would focus on core business after it suffered significant financial loss and corporate humiliation in the collapse of telco OneTel.
Packer, executive chairman James Packer Jr. and CEO Peter Yates oversaw exec shuffle in which former Nine Melbourne topper Ian Johnson replaced David Leckie at the Nine Network. Moves fueled speculation the Packers are positioning the media division for a sale to telco Telstra, or for when the government abolishes the laws preventing foreign and cross-media ownership.