Stokes “Unlikely” To Try To Top News' Bid For Consolidated Media

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

If Kerry StokesSeven Group Holdings  is serious about lodging a counter bid for Consolidated Media Holdings, topping News Ltd.’s $A2 billion play for control of the Australian pay-TV investment company, many investors aren’t convinced. The share price of CMH is trading at $A3.41, below News’ offer of $3.50 for the firm which owns 25% of dominant pay-TV platform Foxtel and 50% of  the lucrative Fox Sports channels. “The share price hasn’t moved because  the market does not believe Stokes will make a higher bid,” one media analyst tells Deadline.  Stokes owns 24% of CMH, the second largest shareholder behind James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings which has 50.5%. The proposed deal, which Packer welcomed, would give  News full ownership of Fox Sports and 50% of Foxtel.  Two days after News revealed its bid,  Seven Group Holdings asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to review a proposal for Seven to acquire of all of the shares in CMH which it does not own.  The analyst noted that Stokes could afford the $1.5 billion-plus he’d need from the resources of Seven Group Holdings and related company Seven West Media to make a counter offer, but doubted that’s his intention as News controls the management of Foxtel and Fox Sports. (more…)

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