Network Ten to be bought by American network
Embattled free-to-air (FTA) and Australian motorsport broadcaster Network Ten will be purchased by American media organisation CBS.
The FTA rights holder of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Formula 1, and MotoGP, had been placed in voluntary administration in mid-June due to concerns over the expiry of a debt facility.
Existing shareholders Bruce Gordon (WIN Corporation owner) and Lachlan Murdoch (News Corp co-chairman) had been circling the network, which had been suffering under onerous US output deals.
However, The Australian reports that their bid to jointly take full control of Ten Network Holdings was thwarted by delays to Federal media law reform.
A joint statement issued by receiver PPB Advisory and administrator KordaMentha Restructuring has confirmed that CBS has “entered into a binding Transaction document to acquire the business and assets of Network Ten.”
“As part of the agreement to purchase the Network Ten business, CBS will provide immediate financial support to ensure continuity of operations ahead of the upcoming meeting of creditors,” the statement adds.
The sale is conditional on Foreign Investment Review Board Approval.
CBS is already a 33 percent owner of Ten subchannel Eleven and a major content provider to the network.
As part of the announcement, CBS has also committed to launching its on-demand service All Access in Australia, which could include streaming of sport such as the NFL as it does in the US.
There is no indication of any change to existing television rights agreements as part of the sale.
In any event, senior rights holder Fox Sports is obliged to place Supercars with a free-to-air partner under the terms of its current six-year contract, which runs from 2015 to 2020.