Network Ten’s billionaire shareholders Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon have proven they are serious about their takeover bid for the embattled broadcaster, engaging the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to review their offer.
The informal review, which commenced yesterday, was sought by the investment companies owned by Murdoch and Gordon – Illyria and Birketu – with submissions from interested parties due on Monday 24 July before a proposed decision (or a statement of issues) is released on Thursday 24 August.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement that the potential deal would see Illyria and Birketu each acquire a 50 per cent economic and voting interest in Ten shares or the assets and shares in relevant Ten subsidiaries.
“While this transaction is dependent upon the passage of the media reform bill, it is appropriate that the ACCC begin its review of the proposed transaction that has been put to us by the parties,” he said.
“The ACCC will assess the potential effect upon advertisers and upon competition within free-to-air television and between free-to-air television and Foxtel, particularly in relation to sport, given the holdings of the main players involved.
“However, an ACCC investigation does not mean that the transaction raises competition concerns, but that further consideration is required for the ACCC to reach a view.”
It is understood that Ten has secured $30 million in funding from Murdoch, Gordon and shareholder James Packer so administrators can keep the company afloat until a buyer can be found. However, the funding will only be made available until Thursday 31 August.
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