US based broadcaster CBS Corporation looks set to take ownership of the beleaguer TEN Network in a new deal announced today
CBS will fund the takeover by converting debt it is currently owed by Ten which is in receivership.
It’s understood TEN currently owes CBS more than $800 Million. CBS has a long-standing contract to supply content to TEN, including a joint-partnership arrangement to operate the Eleven multi-channel.
The deal with CBS will still need to be approve by a number of parties, including the Foreign Investment Review Board, and existing TEN creditors.
As part of the deal, CBS has confirmed it will bring its SVOD product, CBS All Access to Australia.
CBS All Access is the companies attempt to compete in the online sector against Netflix and Amazon. In the US the service features a range of back-catalogue content, and new series 'The Good Fight' and 'Star Trek Discovery'.
The Good Fight is currently available is Australia via SBS, while Star Trek Discovery will soon premiere in Australia on Netflix.
The deal with CBS means the Murdoch family has once again failed to take control of an Australian Free-to-Air broadcaster. Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon had hoped to secure a deal, but were held back by the Federal Government’s failure to pass media ownership reform.
After missing out on the TEN deal, its expected News Corp will focus its interest in merging the Fox Sports and Foxtel businesses, ahead of a stock market float.
Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation announced the deal today stating:
“Network Ten is a prime broadcasting asset with over half a century of experience and brand equity in Australia,” “We have been able to acquire it 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.”
Armando Nuñez, President and CEO, CBS Studios International added:
“Network Ten and CBS have enjoyed a close working relationship for nearly two decades, and now CBS will continue to provide Network Ten with access to the very best in U.S. content. We also look forward to working with the outstanding team at Network Ten to enhance and expand on its great legacy of Australian news, drama, reality and sports programming,”
“This acquisition not only presents CBS with considerable broadcasting opportunities in Australia, but also allows for further multi-platform distribution and growth.”
Network Ten Receiver and Manager, and PPB Advisory Partner, Christopher Hill, said:
“Network Ten has played a significant role in Australia’s media landscape over many decades, and the sale of the business to CBS will allow the iconic broadcaster to move into a new chapter on a strong and stable footing.
Administrator Jarrod Villani of KordaMentha Restructuring stated:
“the Receivers and Administrators will work closely together to ensure that operations continue uninterrupted while the transaction is finalised. 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.