Australia’s Ten Network Confirms Takeover Bids

Struggling Australian free-to-air broadcaster Ten Network said that it had received a number of definite offers for the company.

Ten is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and is currently controlled by Lachlan Murdoch, James Packer and Gina Rinehart, a mining industry billionaire, as well as Bruce Gordon, who owns the WIN network. The proposals could result in a change of control at Ten or a refinancing of its existing debt facilities.

Among those believed to have made bids are companies including Discovery Communications, Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel and Saban Capital, the U.S. media holding group which is expanding its portfolio in the Asia Pacific region. Time Warner, which was once the front runner, is understood to have pulled out.

Local media reports say that Discovery and Foxtel have submitted a consortium bid of A$0.20-0.25 per share, which is lower than an A$0.25 per share indicative offer made by Time Warner, before it withdrew.

Ten has appointed Citicorp to help it evaluate the bids.

It warned that the “proposals are confidential, non-binding and conditional in nature and may or may not result in a transaction which is acceptable to the company.” Proposals would also be subject to regulatory scrutiny, especially if existing Australian media firms Foxtel, Telstra or news Corp. were to succeed.

The billionaire investors are likely to lose tens of millions. The bought their stock at close to A$1.50 apiece. The shares currently trade at A$0.20.

Youth-focussed, Ten posted an annual loss of A$168 million (US$144 million

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