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CBS Wins Bid for Australia’s Ten Network, Defeats Lachlan Murdoch

Shareholders at Australia’s Ten Network on Tuesday voted to accept a revised takeover offer from the U.S.’s CBS Corporation.

The decision is a defeat for a counter-proposal from Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon. It follows a court decision on Monday that rejected a plea from Murdoch and Gordon to delay the creditors’ meeting.

Mark Korda, partner at the accountancy firm that is currently Ten’s administrator, called it an “overwhelming vote in favor of CBS.” “What they decided was to vote – more than 50% of value [in votes] and more than 50% in number [of individual votes] – to accept the CBS deed of company arrangement,” Korda said.

CBS had originally offered A$32 million (US$25.6 million) to creditors. Murdoch and Gordon proposed A$35 million (US$28 million) and increased that to A$55 million (US$43.9 million), promising to leave some equity for creditors, but their offer document also appeared to imply substantial cutbacks and studio closures. CBS is understood to have increased its offer to A$40 million (US$32 million) on the eve of the creditors meeting.

CBS will now take over the entire company. It is also expected to renegotiate a content supply deals with Fox.

Ten has been in administration for several months, since three billionaire backers Murdoch, Gordon and James Packer announced that they would cease to guarantee the network’s credit. Ten is Australia’s No. 3 network.

The takeover is expected to take four to five weeks to complete. It is also subject to regulatory approval.

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