CBS completes Ten takeover

MoonvesCBS Corp. is now the owner of Australian commercial broadcaster Network Ten after closing its takeover deal.

The US network has cleared the final hurdles in a protracted takeover process, which had begun after Ten went into administration.

The deal marks the second time Ten has had a North American owner – Canada’s CanWest was the majority owner between 2007 and 2009.

CBS is gaining the core Ten channel, full control of digital terrestrial network Eleven, DTT net One and on-demand service Tenplay.

“The closing of this acquisition marks the beginning of an exciting opportunity to build and expand on our close working relationship and the great legacy of Network Ten in Australia, and to paving the way for further multiplatform distribution opportunities for CBS content,” said Leslie Moonves, chairman and CEO of CBS.

“I believe our ownership helps ensure that Network Ten’s business will grow long-term, while also benefiting the Australian Media sector as a whole. We look forward to welcoming Ten and its employees to the CBS family.”

Ten had fallen into administration after three of its key shareholders, including 21st Century Fox co-executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch refused to back a new financing agreement.

Murdoch and fellow shareholder Bruce Gordon attempted to buy Ten themselves, but their offer was rejected by administrators.

Ultimately, Ten’s positon was dictated by its debts to creditors, the largest of whom was CBS. The network, effectively decided to turn those debts into an ownership stake, a proposal that won the backing of Ten staff who were promised investment and job security once CBS was in charge.

CBS agreed to pay Ten’s unsecured creditors A$40.6 million (US$31.7 million) after the company entered voluntary administration in June.

Addtional reporting: Andrew McDonald

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