Ten secures A$30m loan to keep afloat

Australia’s Network Ten has secured its immediate future after key shareholders agreed to fund an A$30 million (US$23 million) loan.

Shareholder Lachlan Murdoch

Shareholder Lachlan Murdoch

Lachlan Murdoch, Bruce Gordon and James Packer agreed to support the package, which buys Ten some time and keeps the network on air.

The funding package is available until August 31 and comes ahead of either a company sale or a recapitalisation process.

Commercial channel Ten went into administration last month after Murdoch and Gordon pulled their financial support by refusing to support terms of a new long-term loan. Packer had already removed himself from proceedings.

Christopher Hill, Philip Carter and David McEvoy from PPB Advisory has been appointed receivers and managers of Ten.

They will oversee the sale or recapitalisation process with voluntary administrator KordaMentha continuing to run Ten in the mean time.

In a note to the Australian Securities Exchange, PPB said the new loan “would business to continue to trade as a going concern and enable the receivers and managers to undertake a sale process for, or a recapitalisation of, the business and assets of Ten Network Holdings”.

Speculation is rife that Murdoch family holding News Corp will aim to launch a takeover of Ten if media laws banning companies from owning radio, television and newspaper assets in one place at the same time are relaxed.

Pay TV service Foxtel, which Murdoch-owned News Corp. part owns, has a 14% stake in Ten.

The Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox is facing a fight to take over UK-based pay TV firm Sky after it emerged the agreement will likely to sent to competition authorities for investigation of media plurality concerns.

Lachlan Murdoch is both a key shareholder in Ten through his Illyria vehicle and co-executive chairman of Fox, along with his father, Rupert Murdoch.

One key issue for Ten’s finances has been renegotiating terms of expensive content agreements with CBS and Fox.

Both US studios now form part of a creditors’ committee board that is deciding on the best course of action for the network. Endemol Shine Australia and FremantleMedia Australia are also part of this group.

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