Murdoch bids $2 bln for Australian media rival

Rupert Murdoch's News Limited made a $2.0 billion takeover offer for rival tycoon James Packer's Consolidated Media Holdings Wednesday while announcing a major company restructure.

News offered Aus$3.50 for each share of the Australian media investment firm, which is focused on subscription television, with the bid subject to several conditions including approval from the competition watchdog.

If successful, News would emerge with 50 percent of Foxtel, the country's biggest pay TV operator, and all of Fox Sports. Telecommunications giant Telstra holds the other half of Foxtel.

The announcement came as News unveiled a major revamp to streamline its Australian operations, merging its print and digital businesses with significant redundancies, without specifying the number.

But chief executive Kim Williams reaffirmed the company's commitment to its newspapers, such as The Australian, saying: "We believe in print and are committed to print."

Like media companies worldwide, Murdoch's Australian arm, which controls 70 percent of the country's newspapers and has a stake in broadcaster Sky News, has been hit by advertisers and readers migrating from print to the Internet.

Its key rival Fairfax announced a major overhaul on Monday, with 1,900 jobs slashed and paywalls erected on the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

If the sale goes ahead, it will be the first time in a century that the Packer family will have no media interests in Australia, apart from a small stake in the Ten Network.

In a statement, James Packer welcomed the proposal to take over Consolidated Media Holdings, a firm formed when Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd, founded by his grandfather Frank and run by his father Kerry, changed its name in 2007.

He said it was a fair offer and would recommend it to shareholders.

"CPH welcomes News's proposal and looks forward to Consolidated Media and News working together to address the detailed terms and conditions," said Packer, who owns 50 percent of the firm.

News of the deal helped push CPH's share price almost 10 percent higher to Aus$3.37. News Corp, News Ltd's parent company, added 0.55 percent to Aus$20.15.

Since his father's death, James Packer has moved away from the family's traditional media business and focused on creating a worldwide gaming empire.

As well as Australia, he has casino interests in Macau, and is expected to use the cash from the sale to pursue a full merger of his Crown Casino in Melbourne and Sydney's Star Casino.

For News, the takeover is its most significant investment in pay television since its bid to buy out British Sky Broadcasting broke down.

The company also said it had acquired Australian Independent Business Media, which publishes the successful Business Spectator and the Eureka Report, without revealing the price.

Under the restructuring plans, News will fold its operations in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria states into five divisions from the present 19, managing all editorial and sales as a single network.

It will also collapse News Digital Media into its general operations.

Chief executive Williams, the former head of Foxtel, said he wanted to centralise editorial content as well as commercial functions.

"This is the only way to drive the company forward and respond sensibly and properly to the rapid change evident in the landscape of media operation and use," he said.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors
    No need for Revilla to visit son – prosecutors

    Instead of filing an opposition, ombudsman prosecutors filed a manifestation yesterday expressing belief that there is no urgent need for Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to visit his son at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center. “Based on the clinical abstract issued by the Asian Hospital on patient (Cavite) Vice-governor (Jolo) Revilla, which was submitted by accused Revilla in support of his Urgent Motion, Vice-governor Revilla is in stable condition and has stable vital signs, as of March 1, …

  • Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano
    Troops overrun BIFF bomb-making facility in Mamasapano

    Government troops captured Sunday a bomb and weapons factory of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced yesterday. Col. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the captured bomb and weapons factory is located inside an area controlled by radical Muslim cleric Ustadz Mohammad Ali Tambako at Barangay Dasikil in Mamasapano. …

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say
    How Islamic is Islamic State group? Not very, experts say

    CAIRO (AP) — Three British schoolgirls believed to have gone to Syria to become "jihadi" brides. Three young men charged in New York with plotting to join the Islamic State group and carry out attacks on American soil. A masked, knife-wielding militant from London who is the face of terror in videos showing Western hostages beheaded. …

  • Recruitment firm accused of worldwide scam
    Recruitment firm accused of worldwide scam

    Filipinos aspiring to work overseas should avoid dealing with a recruitment agency that has duped jobseekers worldwide, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said yesterday. The National Bureau of Investigation has padlocked Global Visas Inc., which is based in Cebu. Baldoz said the agency’s parent company, ICS Global Visas Inc. based in the United Kingdom, has reportedly collapsed and left thousands of applicants without jobs.  “Global Visas was in the limelight this week, following its reported …

  • Lawmakers split on tax exemption for Pacquiao
    Lawmakers split on tax exemption for Pacquiao

    Colleagues of boxing champion Manny Pacquiao at the House of Representatives backed yesterday a proposal to exempt his earnings from his May 2 fight with American Floyd Mayweather from income tax. Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares has urged Pacquiao to promptly pay taxes on his May 2 earnings, which are projected to reach at least $120 million (more than P5.2 billion). …

  • Woman with slain Putin critic says she didn't see his killer
    Woman with slain Putin critic says she didn't see his killer

    MOSCOW (AP) — The 23-year-old Ukrainian model who was with slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov tearfully recounted Monday their last dinner in a chic Red Square restaurant and their walk onto a nearby bridge — but said she did not see the gunman who pulled the trigger. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options