The battle over Network Ten, Australia’s No. 3 broadcaster, just intensified. Its largest shareholder, Bruce Gordon, teamed with Fox co-Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch to make a bid — possibly topping CBS’ announced plan to buy the company.
The Australian government cleared the way for the bid this week when it overturned its media consolidation restrictions.
The broadcaster filed for voluntary administration protection, similar to bankruptcy, three months ago.
Bids were supposed to have been due on August 25. Shortly afterward, Network Ten’s biggest creditor, CBS, said that it had “agreed to acquire” the broadcaster.
“Network Ten is a prime broadcasting asset with over half a century of experience and brand equity in Australia,” CBS chief Les Moonves said at the time. “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.”
But Gordon and Murdoch asked courts to intervene, arguing that administrators should have considered selling the business to Gordon’s private firm Birketu and Murdoch’s Illyria Nominees Television. Both were Ten’s major shareholders before it went into receivership.
Specifics about the latest offer have not been disclosed. But The Australian Financial Review reports that they topped CBS’ offer and promised not to cut jobs.