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News Ltd Bet $2bn Pay TV, Sports

By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 20/06/2012

Murdoch empire pounces on Foxtel, Fox Sports by launching a takeover bid for ConsMedia.

Click to enlarge
Newspapers may be slumping but TV still fair game.
Rupert Murdoch's News is looking to get another 25% stake in Foxtel after making a $1.97bn bid for 100% of Consolidated Media Holdings, owner of stakes in both the Pay TV giant and Fox Sports.

The deal, if approved, would mean News Ltd would own 50% of Foxtel, with Telstra owning the remaining 50%, and would also own 100% of Fox Sports.

James Packer, who owns 50% of Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH), confirmed the $3.50 a share bid for the media holdings company.

"Subject to this CPH, considering the offer price of $3.50 per share to be fair, will support the Proposal in the absence of a superior cash offer."

Packer is Exec Chairman of Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), CMH's biggest shareholder.

The billionaire, who is focusing more on his casino interests of late, also said CPH welcomed News' proposal and "looks forward to CMH and News working together to address the detailed terms and conditions."

Kerry Stokes, who owns just under 25% of CMH, has yet to make any soundings about the bid. Rumours circulated last month that Packer intended to ditch his share in Pay TV giant Foxtel, so the announcement is no surprise.

CMH has yet to approve the deal, which is also subject to approval by competition watchdog, ACCC, and News board and shareholders.

News Ltd said there is "no certainty any transaction will eventuate," has to undertake due diligence and be satisfied that it will have no post completion obligations in respect of CMH liabilities.

The CMH Board says it will engage with News in relation to the deal and thrash out the finer details.

The deal, if approved, wont be completed until the final quarter of calendar 2012.

Consolidated Media Holdings Limited (CMH) is a media investment company and invests in new media, according to its website.

This takeover comes as traditional revenues streams from newspapers (Murdoch senior's pet favourite) continue to slide, and after Fairfax's announcement of almost 2000 lay-offs this week. News Ltd are said to announce their own restructure shortly.

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