Australia’s biggest newspaper publisher News Corp Australia has launched a $25m bid to buy the Australian News Channel (ANC), the operator of 24-hour television news services Sky News, Sky News Business and Sky News Weather.
News Corp has this morning declined to comment on the bid, but The Australian reports today that a letter of offer valuing the business at approximately $25m was sent yesterday to its three joint shareholders.
The Australian News Channel is owned by Australia’s Seven and Nine networks and Britain’s Sky. News Corp has long had an indirect interest in the company with News Corp’s sister company, 21st Century Fox, owning 39.3 per cent of Sky, while News Corp and Telstra each own half of pay-TV provider Foxtel which broadcast’s the ANC’s various channels.
It is understood the $25m price tag is a starting bid and that negotiations would likely see the price rise, ahead of the expiry of the current deal between the three parties in February 2017.
The Australian reports the contents of the letter invites negotiations about a potential buyout, rather than putting forward a take-it-or-leave-it offer, suggesting the final negotiated price may be higher than the initial offer.
Sky News uses a lot of News Corp commentators on its various programs such as Australian Agenda, and Viewpoint while any move is likely to be aimed as also ramping up News Corp’s online video component.
The Australian News Channel declined to comment. Comment is being sought from its shareholders Seven, Nine and Sky.