In a deal it says will accelerate its global growth strategy in a key English-speaking market, CBS Corporation has agreed to acquire Network Ten, one of three major commercial broadcast networks in Australia. The transaction adds Network Ten to CBS Corporation’s global content and distribution portfolios. In addition to core linear channel TEN, the deal includes digital terrestrial television channel ELEVEN, in which CBS already owns a 33 per cent stake, the DTT channel ONE and Network Ten’s rapidly-growing digital platform, TENPLAY.
At the same time, by leveraging Network Ten’s linear and digital assets, CBS will also launch CBS All Access, the Company’s digital subscription video on-demand service, in the Australian market. This marks another international territory announced for CBS All Access during August 2017. The Company recently unveiled plans to make the service available in Canada in 2018.
“Network Ten is a prime broadcasting asset with over half a century of experience and brand equity in Australia,” said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation. “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.”
“Network Ten and CBS have enjoyed a close working relationship for nearly two decades, and now CBS will continue to provide Network Ten with access to the very best in US content. We also look forward to working with the outstanding team at Network Ten to enhance and expand on its great legacy of Australian news, drama, reality and sports programming,” said Armando Nuñez, President and CEO, CBS Studios International. “This acquisition not only presents CBS with considerable broadcasting opportunities in Australia, but also allows for further multi-platform distribution and growth.”
The transaction will be completed in accordance with the Australian voluntary administration process and is subject to certain regulatory approvals.
In a Statement, the Receivers and Managers (Christopher Hill, Phil Carter and David McEvoy of PPB Advisory) and the Voluntary Administrators (Mark Korda, Jarrod Villani and Jenny Nettleton of KordaMentha Restructuring) of Ten Network Holdings Limited (Network Ten) said the decision to enter an exclusive transaction deed with CBS followed a rigorous sales process run in conjunction with independent adviser, Moelis Australia Advisory Pty Ltd (Moelis).
Network Ten Receiver and Manager, and PPB Advisory Partner, Christopher Hill, said: “Network Ten has played a significant role in Australia’s media landscape over many decades, and the sale of the business to CBS will allow the iconic broadcaster to move into a new chapter on a strong and stable footing.”
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. 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.”
Australia’s competition watch dog the ACCC had given the go-ahead on August 24 to a potential joint bid from Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon. Murdoch and Gordon formed a joint venture after Ten’s directors put the struggling broadcaster into administration on June 14th following the pair’s decision – along with fellow Ten shareholder James Packer – not to support a new A$250 million (€166m) loan the network needed to stay afloat.