Murdoch & Gordon Lodge New Bid For Ten, Tops CBS
Sparked by media reforms, shareholders Bruce Gordon and Lachlan Murdoch have offered another bid for Channel Ten, which reports state is higher than that proposed by US behemoth CBS.
Sources state the revised proposal offers a better return to creditors.
Administrators KordaMetha are said to have received the new offer around lunchtime today, following the Australian government’s passing of a reform package which overhauls media ownership and concentration laws.
The structure will allow shareholders to retain a 25% equity, and for Channel Ten to be relisted on the Australian Stock Exchange. This should enable Channel Ten’s shareholders to share in any recovery. By contrast, the CBS bid will see the American company own 100% of the organisation.
Administrators are now faced with a choice as to whether they will put forward the new proposal to Ten’s creditors during Tuesday’s meeting, in which they were set to vote on CBS’ bid.
Reports state Murdoch and Gordon’s deed of company arrangements will provide enough funds to enable the continued operation of Channel Ten and meet obligations to staff.
The revised terms increase the maximum payment to unsecured creditors by 57%, from $35 million to $55 million. By contrast, CBS offers $32 million.
Sources state that Murdoch and Gordon’s revised bid should have no execution risk, as media reform laws are set to complete their way through Parliament soon.
The revised bid would allow Channel Ten to remain Australian owned and operated – sources state Murdoch and Gordon are committed to increasing the amount of Australian content.
If CBS is successful in its 100% acquisition of Channel Ten, the American giant could avoid paying corporate taxes to Canberra for a number of years.
Mr Gordon is seeking an official court declaration that administrators KordaMentha failed to give Channel Ten creditors sufficient information about his joint bid with Mr Murdoch, stating that its official report was lacking in several areas.
Justice Ashley Black is set to hand down judgment on Monday, as the court hearings on the matter finished last night.