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CBS Corp agrees to buy Australia's Ten Network

CBS Corp agrees to buy Australia's Ten Network
August 28, 2017

SYDNEY (Reuters) - CBS Corp, owner of the most-watched United States television network, agreed to buy Australian free-to-air broadcaster Ten Network Holdings Ltd, the broadcaster’s administrators said on Monday.

Australian broadcasters, and Ten in particular, have suffered large losses and are scrambling to cut costs as advertisers follow viewers, who have turned to streaming services, such as Netflix and Inc’s Amazon Prime.

The youth-focused and struggling Ten was placed in administration in June, after creditors, including News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch, pulled a debt guarantee.

“The decision to enter an exclusive transaction deed with CBS followed a rigorous sales process,” PPB Advisory and KordaMentha said in a joint statement, without giving a sale price.

CBS had been a creditor, since it licenced shows such as NCIS and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation to the network.

“CBS recognises the significance of Ten in the Australian broadcasting community,” said Armando Nunez, president and chief executive of CBS Studios International.

“We are committed to the efficient, reliable and successful turnaround, operation and development of Ten.”

Ten’s administrators said the CBS purchase, which includes the company taking on its debts, will be put to creditors for approval, and also requires approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.

Last week, a Murdoch-led consortium also bid for the network, though its offer was dependent on an overhaul of Australian media ownership laws that prevent a single party from owning print, radio and television assets in the same market.

No such conditions would apply to the CBS buyout.