CanWest the latest players in media scramble, by Lisa
Murray and Michael Evans - 21st October 2006
Sydney Morning Herald)
Bank and CanWest have joined the stampede to secure
Australian media assets.
is understood the Ten Network's major shareholder,
CanWest Global Communications, received an approach
from Macquarie Media Group last week for its stake
in the commercial broadcaster.
the Asper family's CanWest has so far resisted Macquarie's
overtures and instead is understood to have appointed
Citigroup to advise it on acquisitions in Australia.
Canada-based CanWest holds a 56.5 per cent economic
interest in Ten through shares and convertible debentures.
executive chairman Nick Falloon expects CanWest to
convert the holding into equity once foreign ownership
limits are scrapped next year.
is understood to be considering its options for Australia
in the wake of media law changes, preferring acquisitions
that may include increasing its stake in Ten or a
tie-up with radio network Austereo.
said this week its major shareholder, Village Roadshow,
had advised "its investment in Austereo is currently
not for sale". However, in recent weeks it sold
down its stake from 67 per cent to 50.2 per cent,
prompting some investors to suggest it may sell at
the right price.
shares jumped 6 per cent to $2.25 on Friday. Ten shares
rose 5 per cent to $3.50.
believe Austereo, owner of the Triple M and Today
FM networks, would be a perfect fit with Ten, which
targets 18 to 49-year-olds. They have an existing
relationship through their simulcast of the Australian
latest moves cap off a monster week for the media
industry as the big players jostle for position ahead
of changes to ownership laws next year. While the
changes passed through Parliament this week, the Government
is yet to set a start date.
Fairfax Holdings boss David Kirk said on Friday he
felt "no pressure" to act in response to
a share raid on the company by Rupert Murdoch's News
& Broadcasting initiated the week's corporate
moves by announcing plans to spin off a half share
in its media assets, creating a new $5.5 billion company,
PBL Media, with private equity group CVC Asia Pacific.
Seven Network paid $343 million for a 14.9 per cent
stake in West Australian Newspapers and News Corp
picked up a 7.5 per cent stake in Fairfax for $364
watchers expect Macquarie will set its sights on regional
media company WIN Corp, owned by Bruce Gordon, a media
player who divides his time between Bermuda and WIN's
head office in Wollongong.
is also one of the industry's most active investors
with a 13 per cent stake in Ten, 1.5 per cent of Publishing
& Broadcasting and 44 per cent of Perth's STW
Channel Nine station.
owns Australia's largest regional TV network and has
a significant stake in telecommunications company
also owns TV infrastructure business Digital Distribution
Australia, which operates an east coast wireless telecommunications
network, production company Crawford and has bid for
control of pay TV operator, SelecTV.
Macquarie investment fund, Macquarie Communications
Infrastructure Group, which owns broadcast towers,
may also look to acquire some WIN assets.
declined to comment on its involvement with CanWest
yesterday. It is also advising Seven.