CBS Corp To Acquire Network Ten
US media company CBS Corporation has announced it will acquire Network Ten.
CBS will refinance Ten’s existing debts, including a $200 million loan to the Commonwealth Bank due last December and $30 million in guarantor fees owed to James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, according to a statement released by administrators KordaMentha.
“Network Ten is a prime broadcasting asset with over half a century of experience and brand equity in Australia,” said CBS Corporation chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves.
“We have been able to acquire it at a valuation that gives us confidence we will grow this asset by applying our programming expertise in a market with which we are already familiar,” Moonves said.
CBS also announced it will launch ‘CBS All Access’, the network’s own streaming video subscription service, in Australia sometime in the future.
Along with TV programming, CBS All Access has the rights to NFL and other major sports in the US, potentially pitting it against Foxtel and other broadcasters when it launches locally.
CBS had a programming deal with Ten, and submitted an $843 million claim for what is believed to be the balanced owed on this deal with administrators making it the largest single creditor.
It also held a 33% stake in digital channel Eleven, with Ten holding the remaining share. As part of the deal, CBS will acquire Network Ten’s channels Ten, Eleven and One, as well as the TenPlay digital platform.
“CBS and Ten have had a strong relationship for a number of years; we are very excited about further developing that relationship with CBS as an owner and strength that they will provide to the Company at this critical time,” said Ten CEO Paul Anderson.
The deal will be put to creditors at the second creditors meeting, and also requires the approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board.
“As part of the agreement to purchase the Network Ten business, CBS will provide immediate financial support to ensure continuity of operations ahead of the upcoming meeting of creditors,” said KordaMentha administrator Jarrod Villani.
Murdoch and Gordon’s proposed joint acquisition of Ten, which the ACCC green lit last week, will no longer be able to go ahead.