The lawyers of media mogul Bruce Gordon have told the NSW Supreme Court that Network Ten employees have been “poisoned” as a result of not being able to make a proper decision on the sale of the free-to-air broadcaster.
Through his company, WIN Corporation, Gordon launched a court case last week against Ten’s administrator, Korda Mentha, successfully requesting for its next meeting with the broadcaster’s creditors be delayed.
Why? Well, WIN claimed Korda Mentha’s report to creditors was missing vital information needed for them to make a proper decision on the sale of Ten to CBS – namely, that it “fails to include adequate information” on the competing bid by Gordon and fellow billionaire Lachlan Murdoch.
Representing WIN in court yesterday Dr Andrew Bell SC argued that Korda Mentha’s decision to choose CBS as the winning Ten bidder was a “completely disingenuous proposal”, according to ABC News.
Bell said Gordon was a “disappointed over-bidder”, given that his joint bid with Murdoch would have offered a 10 per cent premium to Ten creditors.
“The administrators have unilaterally made a decision not to put the competing Birketu and Illyria proposals to creditors for a vote,” he said.
“This should immediately raise the interests of the court to be zealous to ensure full disclosure before the creditors meeting takes place.
“It is not reasonable to remove the decision from creditors of which vote to accept.
“Significant problems remain in the new disclosure (released yesterday by KordaMentha) and some of the earlier problems have been exacerbated.”
The court hearing also saw Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox join the proceedings for the first time.
Representing Fox, Ian Pike SC said the company was unsure why it would only get a payout of less than 2 cents in the dollar, compared to other creditors who got a payout in full, ABC News reported.
However, Korda Mentha’s lawyers told the court that there was no substance in the complaint made by Gordon and Murdoch, as the bid had conditions which made it less attractive and less certain.
The joint bid for Ten by Gordon and Murdoch hinged on the federal government changing the media laws, which is still yet to happen.
McHugh also argued that the Gordon-Murdoch bid would leave Ten’s creditors worse off under, which allegedly can’t be accepted because it missed the August 25 deadline.
To spice the hearing up even more, CBS’s barrister made an appearance, saying that the complaint by Gordon and Murdoch has “an ungrounded, unanchored notion of commercial fairness”, according to ABC News.
However, Jason Potts SC said the court wouldn’t find a thing to justify blocking CBS’s vote on its takeover of Ten. WIN is seeking for CBS’s vote to count for just $1.
The court hearing continues today.