ACCC to review Murdoch and Gordon’s plans to buy Ten

The ACCC is to hold a review of Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon’s plan to work together on buying Ten.

The duo, who both own shares in the troubled network and are underwriting its $200m CommBank loan facility, announced last month that they planned to work together after the company’s board called in administrators.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today said that it would be launching an “informal review” into competition issues around the plan.

The regulator has set a deadline of July 24 for submissions, and said it will give its views on the matter by August 24.

Unless media ownership laws change, Murdoch and Gordon would struggle to make the purchase. Gordon’s ownership of WIN would put him in breach of rules about reaching more than 75% of the population with  a single TV network. And Murdoch would breach the two-out-of-three rule through ownership of News Corp’s newspapers, Nova’s radio stations, and the TV network.

The ACCC issued a statement saying:

The ACCC has been formally advised of the proposed transaction and has commenced a review.

The potential transaction would see Illyria Nominees Television Pty Limited and Birketu Pty Limited each directly or indirectly acquiring a 50% economic and voting interest in the shares in Ten or the assets or shares in the relevant Ten subsidiaries.

“While this transaction is dependent upon the passage of the media reform bill, it is appropriate that the ACCC begin its review of the proposed transaction that has been put to us by the parties,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The ACCC will assess the potential effect upon advertisers and upon competition within free-to-air television and between free-to-air television and Foxtel, particularly in relation to sport, given the holdings of the main players involved. However, an ACCC investigation does not mean that the transaction raises competition concerns, but that further consideration is required for the ACCC to reach a view.”

Receivers PPB Advisory are currently in the early stages of running either a sale or recapitalisation of the broadcaster.


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