Foxtel finds bankroll for digital bow

Platform secures loans for VOD, interactive services

SYDNEY — Australia’s dominant pay TV platform Foxtel on Monday nailed down a $A550 million ($385 million) credit facility to bankroll its digital launch in early 2004.

The financing took months to conclude because Foxtel wanted to secure the loans, rather than raising the cash through its shareholders News Corp., Publishing & Broadcasting and Telstra.

Commonwealth Bank and ABN Amro will act as lead arrangers, handling syndication with a variety of institutions.

Foxtel CEO Kim Williams said the platform aims to upgrade its service from analog to digital, ushering in near-VOD and other interactive services, around March.

Foxtel must get approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to set access prices for third-party channel providers.

It has been waiting for the ACCC’s verdict for 11 months, and Williams said he’s confident it will soon be approved.

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