‘Foxtel could try to buy Ten’

Foxtel could bid for Ten if the subscription TV platform’s merger with Austar is turned down, a media analyst has predicted.

Writing in today’s Australian Financial Review, Ben Holgate suggests that there might be fewer regulatory hurdles than for the Austar bid – and it would be cheaper too, particularly if Ten’s outdoor operation Eye is sold separately.

Holgate is a former media analyst at Morgan Staley and Merrill Lynch.

The ACCC has not yet issued a final ruling on Foxtel’s bid for regional pay platform Austar, but it has signalled it has concerns that competition would be reduced in the market.

According to Holgate: “If Foxtel were to merge with a free-to-air network, it would have a competitive advantage in being able to bid for sports rights across multiple media platforms.” He adds: “Other benefits flowing from such a merger include increased buying power of general TV programming, multi platform advertising packages, promotion of pay TV channels on free-to-air to drive subscriptions, and cost savings.”

Holgate also lists the debt-laden Nine Network as another potential target.


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