CBS to acquire Australia's Network Ten

29 August, 2017, 00:15 | Author: Ora Austin
  • American broadcaster CBS has entered a binding agreement to buy the Ten Network

Channel Ten already broadcasts a large number of CBS programmes - indeed, it has been speculated that these costly broadcasting contracts for under-performing shows is one of the reasons Ten nearly went under in the first place.

"We have been able to acquire (Network Ten) at a valuation that gives us confidence we will grow this asset by applying our programming expertise in a market with which we are already familiar", CBS chairman and chief executive Leslie Moonves said in a statement.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, could save the network from a hard patch.

The Americans will refinance Ten's debt including $158 million (132 million euros) owed to the Commonwealth Bank and $30 million owed to shareholders Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon.

On top of acquiring Ten, the deal will also give CBS control of digital channel Eleven, which 33 percent is already owned by the US broadcaster, as well as digital channel One, and Tenplay, Network Ten's digital platform.

The announcement comes at the same time as CBS revealed plans to also launch CBS All Access, the Company's digital subscription video on-demand service, in the Australian market.

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CBS could use its newfound presence in Australia to test its Netflix rival CBS All Access overseas. As part of the agreement to purchase the Network Ten business, CBS will provide immediate financial support to ensure continuity of operations ahead of the upcoming meeting of creditors.

The Murdoch-Gordon joint bid was contingent on a suite of media reforms which have been blocked by the Australian senate. However, they backed away from issuing the credit and in June the government placed Ten into voluntary administration.

So, what does the deal with CBS mean?

The New York-based company has been going since 1927, with more than 240 television stations in the U.S., as well the CBS radio network. The Australian government is pursuing reforms which could have allowed the deal, but the bill is now stalled in parliament and it looks like Network Ten could not afford to wait it out.

TenPlay, the free-to-air broadcaster's free streaming service, could potentially be a testing ground to bring subscribers into CBS All-Access.

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