PBL responds to Nine sale rumors

Co. offers up a 'no comment'

SYDNEY — Nine Network owner Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd. has responded to rumors it’s getting ready to sell its flagship web to foreign interests.

Reports emerged Monday that PBL was looking to offload the Nine Network, as well as its magazine division ACP, to an equity capital group. Additional speculation had PBL putting its media assets into a new listed entity to separate the struggling web from its more profitable gambling assets.

“As a matter of policy, PBL does not comment on such speculation,” the company said in a statement. “However, as always, PBL is constantly reviewing all its businesses and options.”

This statement will do little to dampen rampant rumors that have surfaced after the Senate last week passed changes to media laws, the final hurdle before they are enacted. New changes allow foreign companies to buy local media orgs for the first time in nearly two decades.

While media magnate Kerry Packer was alive, Nine was a key asset to PBL, but in recent years, heir James Packer has focused more on gambling assets. With a soft television advertising market and a cost-cutting program at Nine, a sale may well be in the cards.

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