US mass media company CBS has agreed a deal to acquire embattled Australian commercial broadcaster Ten, which entered into voluntary administration in June.
Ten is one of the main sports broadcasters in Australia and in addition to its core linear channel, CBS has acquired digital terrestrial television channel Eleven, which it already owns a 33 per cent stake in, the DTT channel One and Ten’s digital platform, TenPlay.
CBS has struck the deal with Ten’s receivers and managers, PPB Advisory, as well as administrator KordaMentha Restructuring. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said CBS will refinance Ten’s existing debt, including a loan from Commonwealth Bank and guarantor fees of about A$33m (€22.2m/$26.2m) owed to businessman James Packer and media moguls Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon. Murdoch and Gordon, existing shareholders of Ten, had launched their own takeover bid last month.
The Herald added that secured loans include at least A$98m to Commonwealth Bank, A$841,000 to Westpac and A$640,000 to ANZ Bank, adding this is set to value the deal at around A$123m. However, shareholders will receive nothing with PPB Advisory stating the agreement includes CBS delisting Ten from the stock market.
As part of the takeover, CBS will also launch CBS All Access, the company’s digital subscription video on-demand service, in the Australian market. CBS All Access’ sports content includes games from American football league the NFL, as well as US college American football and basketball and leading golf tournaments.
“Network Ten is a prime broadcasting asset with over half a century of experience and brand equity in Australia,” Leslie Moonves, chairman and chief executive of CBS Corporation, said. “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.”
Ten’s last major sports deal came in June as it acquired rights to the A-League, the top tier of domestic football, as well as matches played by the men’s national team. The deal comes into effect from the 2017-18 season and grants Ten free-to-air rights to the A-League’s Saturday night games and all finals.
The broadcaster will also cover all matches played by the men’s national team following the completion of the qualification campaign for next year’s Fifa World Cup in Russia.
Ten agreed the deal with Football Federation Australia and pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports. Fox Sports signed a six-year rights agreement, covering the 2017-18 to 2022-23 seasons, with FFA last December.
The CBS transaction will be completed in accordance with the Australian voluntary administration process and is subject to certain regulatory approvals.