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Discovery, Foxtel to Mount Joint Bid for Ten Network in Oz: Report

Time Warner has pulled out of the bidding, according to reports

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LONDON — Discovery Communications and Australian cable and satellite TV company Foxtel are prepping a joint bid for Ten Network Holdings, Australia’s third largest free-to-air broadcaster, while Time Warner has pulled out of the running, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Foxtel, which is owned by News Corporation and Telstra, would only be allowed to hold a 14.9% stake in Ten due to media ownership rules.

The Discovery-Foxtel deal, which offers a combination of cash and shares, is designed to win over Ten’s biggest shareholder, WIN Corporation, whose boss Bruce Gordon has said he won’t sell his 14.9% stake.

Ten’s other major shareholders are Crown Entertainment chairman James Packer, News Corporation co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch and mining magnate Gina Rinehart. Lachlan and Packer have stated they are willing to sell. Minority shareholders own about 60%.

Saban Capital Group has expressed an interest in Ten, and U.S. hedge fund Anchorage Capital may stage a joint bid with Providence Equity Partners, it is claimed.

Time Warner tabled a bid priced at A¢25 a share in October, but has now pulled out of the bidding, the Sydney Morning Herald said. U.S. private equity firm Hellman & Friedman is also out of the running, it is understood.

The deadline for bids is Dec. 2.