Court clears way for CBS to take Ten reins
A Supreme Court judge has approved the transfer of Ten Network’s shares to US media giant CBS.
The decision means the drawn-out takeover process of the troubled free-to-air broadcaster has finally reached an endgame.
Justice Ashley Black ruled that there is no unfair prejudice if the shares are transferred, which means the deal now awaits approval from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission.
The corporate regulator is expected to approve the transfer. Minor shareholders, who will be wiped out by the CBS takeover, sought to mount a potential challenge to the deal.
Justice Black explained to minor shareholders Yunfeng Du and David Gubbay that they may appeal. Yesterday’s hearing was also attended by Ten’s lead administrator, Korda-Mentha’s Mark Korda, and a CBS representative.
The transfer of shares to CBS is the final step in the takeover of the embattled broadcaster that began when it slipped into voluntary administration on June 16.
The CBS offer was almost unanimously backed by Ten’s creditors including the broadcaster’s employees at a meeting in September.
The CBS bid thwarted a takeover attempt by Ten shareholders Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon and received the stamp of approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board last month.
The decision comes after Ten held its upfronts presentation as part of the annual advertising selling season.
Among an audience of media buyers and advertisers on Thursday evening was CBS International boss Armando Nunez and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.
At the gathering inside Sydney’s International Convention Centre, Ten chief executive Paul Anderson thanked advertisers for sticking with the network during its ownership upheavals.
“We must be odds on to take out the award for the most column inches in newspapers in 2017,” Mr Anderson said.
“One thing I have learnt is having a thick skin and not being precious is a must.
“We are now in the final stages of being acquired by CBS Corporation.
“This is a game-changer for Ten and we believe a significant positive for the Australian media industry.
“CBS is a global entertainment giant, a mass media company that is the mostwatched television network in the US, with one of the world’s largest libraries of entertainment content.
Paul Anderson: ‘This is a game-changer for Ten’