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CBS seals Ten refinance deal

Simone Ziazaris and Peter Trute  |  04 Sep 2017Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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SYDNEY - [AAP] US broadcast giant CBS has made a $143 million loan to the Ten Network to refinance the struggling local outfit's debt--advancing its interest even as a potential challenge to its takeover still stands.

Ten's receivers announced on Monday CBS has completed a $142.7 million refinancing deal of the free-to-air broadcaster's debt, including covering payments owed to previous debt guarantors Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon.

CBS, which still needs creditor approval for the surprise takeover bid it launched in August, has also provided $30 million in working capital to Ten.

As creditors of the network, which went into administration in June, await the release of the receivers' report to creditors, it appears billionaire Ten shareholder Bruce Gordon may challenge CBS's takeover bid.

It is understood Mr Gordon, who with fellow shareholder Lachlan Murdoch had already secured regulatory clearance to launch a joint takeover of Ten, could take on the CBS bid on his own when a creditors' meeting is held this month to vote on the US giant's move.

The Murdoch-Gordon proposal--made through their respective investment vehicles Illyria and Birketu--is believed to have comprised two bid scenarios, one of which depended on changes to media ownership laws and the other based on the legislative status quo.

The first Illyria-Birketu proposal is believed to have involved Ten shareholders retaining 25 per cent of their equity and the network resuming trade on the ASX, while all creditors, excluding studios, were paid in full.

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Under the proposed CBS bid, which creditors need to approve, it appears shareholders will receive no compensation for their shares being taken over.

CBS will have to clear the Foreign Investment Review Board and face a court ruling to certify the transfer of shares from existing holders to CBS.

Ten administrators at KordaMentha are due to release a report to prepare creditors for a vote on the CBS deal on Monday, while a creditors' meeting is scheduled for September 12.


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