SYDNEY – Rupert Murdoch’s Aussie arm News Ltd has made a $1.9 billion takeover for James Packer’s media org Consolidated Media Holdings which has a 25% interest in paybox Foxtel and a half share in sports broadcaster Fox Sports.
The move is a friendly one with News Corp already owning the other half of Fox Sports and Packer long aiming to shed his media interests and concentrate on gaming interests Down Under and abroad.
“CPH welcomes News’ proposal and looks forward to (Cons Media) and News working together to address the detailed terms and conditions,” Mr Packer said in a statement.
Foxtel itself is half owned by telco Telstra Corporation, with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and ConsMedia each holding a 25 per cent stake. Rumours have been circulating that Telstra might make a tilt for full control but now may have Murdoch to fend off, should the next move be a full takeover of the paybox.
Other synergies exist with current News Ltd topper Kim Williams previously heading up Foxtel.
The takeover will be subject to approval by Aussie corporate watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
News Corp. has had cash burning a hole in its pocket since a bid to buy in the rest of U.K. satcaster BSkyB collapsed last summer amid a phone hacking scandal. Since then, the company has spent billions of dollars buying back stock. News prexy Chase Carey has been outspoken in his desire to either buy up or exit completely from companies it doesn’t fully own. But it hasn’t been clear when News Corp. would be ready to make another multi-billion dollar strategic move.