Caution urged over Ten future speculation

For sale Australian broadcaster Network Ten has urged caution after reports that a key shareholder is looking to take control of the firm.

The network released a statement on the Australia Stock Exchange after reports Ten shareholder Bruce Gordon had submitted an alternative proposal to an outside takeover. This would see him provide the channel with between A$53 million-A$175 million (US$40.5 million-US$134.2 million) in funding in exchange for convertible stock.

It also followed news Discovery Communications and Foxtel had revised their joint offer for 100% control to a smaller offer that would hand them a smaller piece of the equity. The new offer removes a control premium previously on the table, lowering the overall value.

Gordon has a 14.9% stake in the firm, but Australian media law stops him owning more due to his ownership of local network WIN.

The Australian newspaper reported Discovery and Foxtel cooled their interest of a full takeover of Ten after Gordon’s resistance to a company sale. However, should he gain control of Ten, pressure on authorities to allow a merger with WIN would crank up.

Ten’s note to ASX today reiterated it had received various offers after launching a strategic review last year, and that an independent board was looking into the proposals.

“Ten will update ASX again when required to do so under its continuous disclosure obligations,” the statement read. “In the meantime, Ten urges caution in dealing in its shares on the basis of media speculation about potential transaction involving the company.”

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