US broadcasting giant CBS is the new owner of Australia’s third-largest commercial television network, the station’s administrators said Thursday, ending a bidding war with media mogul Lachlan Murdoch.
The Ten Network was placed into voluntary administration in June after failing to secure a new finance package when two billionaire backers refused to continue guaranteeing a key loan.
The backers, News Corporation co-chair Murdoch and regional TV owner Bruce Gordon, later sought to bid for Ten through their investment companies, aided by changing media laws that would allow ownership across platforms.
But administrators KordaMentha opted to sell the network to CBS — one of Ten’s key content providers — which would fund the purchase by refinancing existing secured debt arrangements in full.
A Sydney court last week knocked back a legal challenge to the deal.
“We are very proud to be handing Ten over to CBS,” administrator Mark Korda said in a statement Thursday.
“The opportunity to add CBS’ global industry expertise to Ten’s already very talented executive team is a hugely exciting opportunity for Ten.”
The deal includes Channel Ten, digital channel One, digital platform Tenplay, and digital channel Eleven — of which CBS already owns a 33 percent stake.
CBS had said it would also launch its digital on-demand service CBS All Access in the Australian market.
Ten, whose shows include “Big Bash League” cricket, “Australian Survivor” and “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here”, has been on air since 1964.
Like other media groups, it has been hammered by slumping advertising revenues and competition from digital platforms.