CBS closes in on Ten deal after share transfer approved
CBS is nearing completion of its Ten Network buyout after a Supreme Court judge approved the transfer of all Ten shares to the US broadcasting goliath at no cost.
Justice Ashley Black decided in favour of CBS yesterday, finding there was no prejudice in the deal, which leaves Ten shareholders with no payment for the loss of their shares.
A previous expert report valued Ten shares as worthless due to the debts the embattled broadcaster had for onerous content contracts, including with CBS.
Justice Black’s decision followed a hearing in which three minor shareholders sought to block the deal without success.
Two of those shareholders — law student Yunfeng Du and accountant David Gubbay — were told yesterday they could appeal the decision handed down by the New South Wales Supreme Court.
But they were warned they may be liable for legal costs if they chose to appeal.
Ten shares will not be transferred to CBS before 5pm on Tuesday, allowing the three shareholders — two of which were present in court yesterday — time to decide whether or not to seek an injunction.
“If you are contemplating an appeal, then it will plainly be desirable for you to finalise your position over the weekend and give notice to the plaintiffs,” Justice Black said.
Ten administrator Mark Korda told reporters outside the court that a further delay could mean Ten might lose out on advertising contracts, talent re-signing and other new contracts.
Mr Korda said he did not think that would happen but, if an appeal were lodged, he expected it to be settled by Wednesday.
“We want to take channel Ten out of administration and give it a great future so there could be damages but I am sure we will get it settled and it will be fine,” Mr Korda said.
The corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, is due to release its decision on the takeover — expected to be an approval — late next week.
CBS’s takeover trumped a competing offer from major Ten shareholders Lachlan Murdoch, co-chairman of Gold
Coast Bulletin publisher News Corp, and Bruce Gordon.