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CBS’s Ten deal nears completion

Les_MoonvesUS broadcaster CBS has just one obstacle to overcome in order to take over Australian commercial net Ten.

CBS has received the deal greenlight from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), leaving only the legal transfer of shares as an outstanding issue.

The FIRB has no problems with the deal, which formulated after it emerged CBS was Network Ten’s largest debtor.

CBS effectively decided to turn those shares into an ownership stake, a move contested by some other shareholders set to lose their investments, and former Ten guarantors Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon, who made a rival bid.

However, CBS’s proposal has the backing of Ten staff, who have been promised investment and job security once the American broadcaster is in charge. The deal will see CBS pay Ten’s unsecured creditors A$40.6 million (US$31.7 million).

Ten had gone into administration after 21st Century Fox co-executive chairman Murdoch, regional broadcast mogul Gordon and James Packer decided to pull their financial backing from the broadcaster.

Ten is currently Australia’s third largest commercial broadcaster by audience share.