Ten bidding war begins with Time Warner lobbing a $680m bid

Ten logoA bidding war for the struggling Network Ten appears to be on in earnest with Time Warner reported to have a floated a $680m takeover bid.

The Financial Review reports Time Warner sent a letter on October 6 to Ten’s investment banking adviser Citi to “express our interest in pursuing a possible acquisition” of the free-to-air network.

Time Warner’s offer values the company at around $680m, or around 25 cents a share, and comes ahead of a meeting between Ten management and a consortium consisting of Discovery and Foxtel who are set to discuss a rival bid on Wednesday. 

The AFR reports the opening bid is specified as not binding and “only intended to facilitate further discussions with you”, while The Australian also a carries a report downplaying the chances of a Discovery/Foxtel bid noting Ten’s major shareholders would want to receive “full value” for their shareholding.

Another major hurdle is the $200m loan guarantee the network made to a trio of board directors including News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch, Crown Resorts chairman James Packer and WIN Corporation owner Bruce Gordon.

Ten’s share registry includes not only media moguls such as Murdoch, Packer and Gordon but also mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

Many of these shareholders could be forced to take a substantial loss on their investment at the Time Warner 25 cent price bid, with the likes of Murdoch, Packer and Rinehart buying in back in 2010 when the share price was around $1.50. Rinehart later bought more shares in 2012 at around 80 cents a share. 

In recent weeks the Ten share price hit a record low of 18.5 cents before rebounding on the back of the takeover speculation with the share price opening this morning at 28 cents.

Nic Christensen 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.