Murdoch, Gordon cleared for Ten takeover

Brunilde Fioravanti
Agosto 24, 2017

The competition watchdog has announced that it will not oppose a proposed bid for the Ten Network by current shareholders Bruce Gordon and Lachlan Murdoch.

"While this transaction will result in some reduction in diversity across the Australian media landscape, we have concluded it would not substantially lessen competition, which is the test the ACCC is required to assess acquisitions against", said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

News Corp's half-owned cable television company Foxtel and Murdoch personally already own about a fifth of Ten, which has a market capitalization of A$58 million ($45.88 million).

Murdoch is co-chair of News Corp with his father Rupert.

Mr Murdoch owns a radio station and News Corp publishes about two-thirds of the country's newspapers.

The Ten deal relies on the government succeeding in that plan, with a bill passed by the lower house of parliament but facing opposition in the senate.

But with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission waving the deal through, Mr Murdoch and Mr Gordon are now free to purchase Network Ten as soon as the laws pass. Gordon controls WIN Corporation, a private Australian media company, which owns commercial television broadcasting licences across Australia.

The ACCC considered feedback from a "wide range of market participants", including broadcasters, sports rights holders, independent content producers and advertisers.

Mr Murdoch and Mr Gordon sought a review of the bid in July after Ten was placed in administration and the ACCC reviewed factors including how a takeover would expand "Murdoch interests" in Australian media and how competition for supply of news services would be affected.

"The ACCC is not oblivious to the fact that significant influence can be exerted through partial shareholdings and family connections, however the ACCC did take into consideration that this is a proposed 50 per cent acquisition by Illyria", Sims said.

"Even though incentives to compete may be weakened if the proposed acquisition proceeds, Ten and Foxtel/News Corporation will remain competitors in a number of markets and will be subject to our competition laws which prevent them from making anti-competitive agreements".

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