Murdoch and Gordon launch last ditch bid to snatch Ten from CBS

Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon have launched a last minute attempt to prevent the sale of Ten to CBS by tabling what they argue is a higher bid.

The bid – via Murdoch’s Ilyria investment vehicle and Gordon’s Birketu – “returns more value” and greater “execution certainty” than the CBS deal, according to a letter from the duo released on the Australian Securities Exchange last night.

The revised Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) proposal by Birketu and Illyria came less than 24 hours after the media reforms bill – which includes the repeal of the 75% reach rule and two out of three ownership rule – passed the Senate.

According to the documents, the new proposal from the duo includes a maximum payment to unsecured creditors of $55m – compared to $32m under the CBS Transaction.

It also notes there will be no redundancies for Ten staff, and says Ten management will work with CBS and 21st Century Fox to reach  agreement on other commercial terms of programming contracts, prior to completion of the sale.

The removal of the ownership restrictions means that the duo would be able to own the network under a more straightforward structure.

The letter stated the should Korda Mentha select new bid, Ten will no longer be “burdened” with a contract by CBS that Korda Mentha described in one of its reports as “onerous”.

“The revised B&I Proposal provides greater execution certainty, through eliminating the very real prospect of one or more challenges to the CBS DOCA,” a statement said.

“This revised B&I Proposal provides Ten’s creditors with a significantly improved return on both the Original Proposal and the terms of the CBS Transaction.

“If CBS is excluded from the analysis, the return to all other unsecured creditors is demonstrably higher ($35m vs $32m) and they are treated equitably and without unfair prejudice.

“This proposal will remain open until withdrawn by the Proponents.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) previously said it would not stand in the way of a bid from Murdoch and Gordon. 


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