CBS ‘among nine eyeing Network Ten’

US broadcaster CBS may be in hunt for Australian commercial broadcaster Network Ten.

CBS is one of nine potential suitors that are being linked to a takeover of Ten, which remains in administration after its key shareholders refused to back a new financial package.

Previous reports have claimed CBS, Ten’s biggest debtor, would be willing to reduce the large repayments Network Ten owes in exchange for equity in the beleaguered channel.

According to the Australian Financial Review, CBS is among those that have signed NDA forms that give it access to an information memorandum on Ten. The pair already operates digital channel Eleven together.

Ten’s existing output deal with CBS has been consistently cited as one of the main financial problems for the network. CBS has made a claim for around US$840 million, and Ten also owes debts to 21st Century Fox, Endemol Shine Group, ITV Studios and FremantleMedia.

The AFR also suggests asset manager Oaktree has approached former Nine Network chief David Gyngell to become part of another potential takeover group.

Gyngell exited his post as CEO of Ten rival Nine in November 2015.

Ten backers Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon have tabled a joint takeover proposal to Ten, though under existing Australia media laws they cannot go through with a deal unless government rule changes go through.

Anchorage Capital Group, which backs US-based producer Critical Content and owns part of MGM, is also considered a runner.

All bids must be in by end-August.

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