Rupert Murdoch’s son Lachlan Murdoch and Win Television owner Bruce Gordon have been joined by 21st Century Fox in their bid to block CBS’ acquisition of Australia’s Network Ten. CBS announced its plans to buy Oz’s third-rated broadcast network late last month.
Gordon and the younger Murdoch were quick to respond. They argued that administrators should have considered selling the business to Gordon’s private firm Birketu and Murdoch’s Illyria Nominees Television which were Ten’s major shareholders before it went into receivership.
Today, representatives for the parties appeared in the New South Wales Supreme Court. Attorney Andrew Bell said his clients had offered 10% more for Ten than CBS, and that the bid should have been put to the creditors. Bell also accused administrators “of poisoning the employees of Ten against the Birketu/ Illyria bid.” Employees make up a large portion of the creditors, The Guardian notes.
According to Reuters reporting from the court, Illyria and Birketu had informed Ten overnight on Monday that they “wish to in some way reopen their offer by opening negotiations,” Ten lawyer Richard McHugh said.
Financial details of Illyria’s offer have not been disclosed, but Reuters says documents released on Monday by the Ten administrator show CBS is prepared to pay at least A$201.1M ($162M) in cash.
CBS and 21st Century Fox are Ten’s largest creditors. When CBS announced its deal, Chairman and CEO Les Moonves said, “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.”