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Murdoch’s Australian arm bids for Consolidated Media

Packer keen on selling off his media holdings

SYDNEY — Rupert Murdoch’s Australian arm News Ltd has made a $1.9 billion takeover bid for James Packer’s Consolidated Media Holdings, which has a 25% interest in paybox Foxtel and a half share in broadcaster Fox Sports.

The move is a friendly one: News Corp. owns the other half of Fox Sports and Packer has long wanted to shed his media holdings and concentrate on gaming interests Down Under and abroad.

Packer said he “welcomes News’ proposal and looks forward to ConsMedia and News working together to address the detailed terms and conditions,”

Foxtel is half owned by telco Telstra, with Murdoch’s News Corp. and ConsMedia each holding a 25% stake.

Rumours have been circulating that Telstra might make a tilt for full control of Foxtel but now may have Murdoch to fend off if the ConsMedia deal goes through.

Other synergies exist — current News Ltd topper Kim Williams previously headed Foxtel.

The takeover is subject to approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

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