Embattled Channel Ten finds a buyer from the US
CHANNEL Ten has been saved, with American broadcaster CBS Corporation inking a deal to buy the troubled network.
The receivers and voluntary administrators of Ten Network Holdings announced the deal on Monday morning, saying that it followed "a rigorous sales process".
"Network Ten has played a significant role in Australia's media landscape over many decades, and the sale of the business to CBS will allow the iconic broadcaster to move into a new chapter on a strong and stable footing," said PPB Advisory Partner Christopher Hill, one of Ten's receivers.
The network was placed into voluntary administration in June, after Ten shareholders Lachlan Murdoch, Bruce Gordon and James Packer decided against guaranteeing a new $250 million loan to replace the existing $200 million overdraft from the Commonwealth Bank.
Administrator Jarrod Villani of KordaMentha said the company's receivers and administrators would "work closely together to ensure that operations continue uninterrupted while the transaction is finalised".
"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," he said.
Today's announcement puts an end to speculation of a takeover by Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, after the ACCC last week cleared the way for a potential deal in which the pair would take 50 per cent each.
Mr Murdoch and Mr Gordon sought a review of the bid by the competition regulator in July. The ACCC reviewed factors including how a takeover would expand "Murdoch interests" in Australian media and how competition for supply of news services would be affected, concluding that such a deal would not lessen competition.
CBS Corporation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and has a current market capitalisation of $US28 billion.
A key content provider to Ten, it operates businesses which span the media and entertainment industries, including the CBS Television Network, cable networks, content production and distribution, television stations, internet-based businesses, and consumer publishing.
The deal will involve an acquisition of Network Ten by CBS, with a refinance of existing secured debt arrangements (including shareholder guarantor fees) in full and a Deed of Company Arrangement that will be put to creditors at the second creditors meeting.
Further details on the expected return to creditors and timing of the second creditors meeting will be provided by the Voluntary Administrators in their Report to Creditors to be released in the coming days, KordaMentha said.