Packer touts PBL spinoff

New coin to help expand gaming stream, core media biz

Publishing and Broadcasting topper James Packer tubthumped the conglom’s PBL Media spinoff as Australia’s “first truly integrated media company” at the annual meeting here Thursday.

Last week PBL announced it was selling half its media interests to Blighty’s private equity firm CVC, which would free up A$4.5 billion ($3.4 billion).

Packer told the meeting the cash would allow PBL to expand its gaming stream and its core media businesses, such as terrestrial web Nine.

The meeting also reported a $3 million payday for Nine’s topper, Eddie McGuire, who moved from host of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and one of the web’s highest profile on-air talents to the top job in April.

Packer admitted that McGuire had kept his salary as “the biggest star of the Nine Network” but said a future contract would be more “conventional” and may include performance bonuses.

McGuire’s contract will be up for renewal in 2010.

Packer said Nine had a “difficult year” as rival Seven Network gave it a close run in the ratings and increased its share of ad revenues. But, he added, “the new management team is focused on making Nine a more profitable business.”

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