CBS Corp agrees to buy Australia's Ten Network

David Washington                          @davidwashingto2

David Washington @davidwashingto2

Broadcaster CBS has struck a deal to acquire Australia's Ten Network, bankruptcy receivers PPB Advisory and insolvency specialists KordaMentha said. CBS has been a key supplier of USA content to the network for some years.

"Network Ten is a prime broadcasting asset with over half a century of experience and brand equity in Australia", he said in a statement.

On top of acquiring Ten, the deal will also give CBS control of digital channel Eleven, which 33 percent is already owned by the US broadcaster, as well as digital channel One, and Tenplay, Network Ten's digital platform.

CBS Studios International president and CEO, Armando Nuñez, said Network Ten and CBS have enjoyed a close working relationship for almost two decades.

Ten looked like they were going to be ok earlier in the year when Gordon, Murdoch, and James Packer guaranteed a new credit line of $250 million.

The announcement comes days after billionaires Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon were given the all-clear to launch a joint takeover of the network.

"The test will be whether an American network can relate to an Australian audience and deliver Australian programs that Australians want to watch". CBS is also providing immediate financial support.

Australia is a relatively small market, but would be attractive for a global player like CBS because it is one where consumers are willing to pay for content, said Jun Bei Liu, deputy portfolio manager at Tribeca Investment Partners in Sydney. CBS Corporation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and has a current market capitalisation of ~US$28 billion.

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".

Filings from the administrator lodged after Ten creditors, which included Murdoch, had pulled their debt guarantee, and showed in July that CBS claimed they were owed $A844 million for licensing shows like CSI and NCIS.

Aside from boosting its international-distribution footprint, the deal for Ten Network gives Manhattan-based CBS an existing platform to help it roll out its CBS All Access subscription service in Australia, which CBS announced along with the deal.

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