Private equity firms circle Ten

Private equity firms circle Ten

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Humble ratings and weak revenues have left Ten open to opportunistic bids according to the Australian Financial Review which reports private equity firms are circling the struggling commercial network

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Ten Network Holdings has attracted the interest of private equity firms that are weighing offers for the troubled free-to-air network amid potential changes to key programming contracts and media ownership laws.

It is believed United States media investor Providence Equity Partners has begun running the numbers on a potential bid for Ten’s equity and debt in a move likely to be encouraged by the company’s board and management.

Sources close to the process said the company behind MasterChef Australia and Offspring had retained long-term adviser Citi as well as legal firm Gilbert + Tobin to provide the commercial network with strategic advice.

Providence executives visited Australia earlier this month to meet media companies including Ten, which reported a profit downgrade on Wednesday.

The sources said Ten directors believed the embattled company would stand a better chance of surviving if it was “taken private”. Ten’s weak ratings and revenue over the past four years have left it open to an opportunistic bid by parties who believe there is still value in the third commercial free-to-air licence.

While contact between Providence and Ten was described as “preliminary”, the sources said there “was a lot of work going on behind the scenes with a number of parties to try to make something happen at Ten”.

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