Foxtel completes Austar deal

Australian pay-TV operators Foxtel and Austar have completed their merger transaction, creating a national subscription television service intended to deliver innovative new digital products and content for all Australian consumers.

The new Foxtel will directly employ approximately 2,500 people, service 2.2 million subscriber households, and entertain over seven million viewers each week.

Richard Freudenstein, Foxtel Chief Executive, said that the Foxtel and Austar platforms would be physically brought together over the coming months. “Soon consumers will receive the same great Foxtel content whether you live in regional Australia or the cities. Austar customers will not need to do anything; they will transition seamlessly to Foxtel,” he explained.

Plans are well advanced for the integration of the two businesses. Details of organisational and product changes will be made once details are finalised.

Liberty Global confirmed May 23 the completion of the previously announced sale of its shares in Austar. The transaction resulted in cash proceeds of approximately US$1.1 billion.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission confirmed April 10 that it would not oppose the proposed A$1.9 billion acquisition of Austar by Foxtel after accepting court-enforceable undertakings from Foxtel. Austar shareholders voted March 30 to approve the deal.

Foxtel services the major metropolitan cities and Western Australia, while Austar services rural and regional Australia. Foxtel and Austar shared 50:50 ownership of the major subscription TV channels group XYZ Entertainment. With the merger now complete, Foxtel owns 100 per cent of XYZ.

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