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CBS’ purchase of Ten ‘inevitable’ says News Corp’s Michael Miller

The purchase of Ten by CBS is inevitable but no one will have insight into the US network’s plans for the Australian broadcaster until the deal is confirmed, News Corp boss Michael Miller told an audience and Radio Alive 2017 Conference today.

Miller’s comments come three weeks after creditors voted in favour of the US media giant’s offer to buy the network’s business and assets.

The panel: Fox Sports’ Patrick Delaney, Nine’s Hugh Marks, News Corp’s Michael Miller and Southern Cross Austereo’s Grant Blackley

A week prior to the creditors’ vote, Murdoch and Gordon launched an unsuccessful bid to prevent the CBS sale.

Speaking on the panel ‘Media Reformed’ with other senior media executives, Miller said he couldn’t give insights until the media giant had officially arrived.

“CBS haven’t got Ten yet but I think it’s inevitable.

“We won’t really have insight yet as a category or an industry as to what CBS’ plans are.”

Former Ten CEO and Southern Cross Austereo CEO Grant Blackley said it had been a “sad affair” watching Ten.

But he added: “CBS are a very large company, they have enormous capital behind them.

“Certainly looking at the US, they don’t enter a market just for the point of entering a market. They are here to stabilise, make a dollar, secure their future within that and they’ll put the appropriate amount of resource behind that.”

Later on in the session, Blackley said the good news about Ten was the network hadn’t fallen into the hands of private equity, who weren’t in the “business of media”.

“What you had was Lachlan Murdoch through Ilyria and obviously Bruce Gordon, and in that regard they are worthy competitors. What the result will be obviously a result of the courts and administrators but thankfully they are all media operators,” he said.

Asked which bidder would be better for the network, Miller said he “didn’t have a strong view”.

“I suppose Ilyria and Bruce Gordon were the guarantors plans are, it’s hard to answer that. I think time will tell.”

Hugh Marks, Nine’s CEO told the audience it was never a question of who would be better, but rather focus on who will be competitive.

“Whoever is going to run a media business these days wants to run a business that is sucecesful and to run a business that’s successful, you’ve gotta have a business that takes audience first so when you take audience first its all about content,” Marks said.

“From our point of view it was never a question of they’re better or that’s better – we just believe that anyone who is going to run that business is going to be competitive and actually competition is a good thing.”

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