Channel Nine, who is probably on track in restoring some former glory after hits The Block and The Voice have pushed up its ratings, could potentially be owned by Telstra. This is after a report claimed that the telco could purchase its parent company, Nine Entertainment Co, as it struggles with a $3.8 billion debt.
This sort of has echos of Comcast buying NBC Universal in America – where a telco buys a free-to-air television network (and lucrative cable channels and a motion picture studio – something that Nine does not have)
According to The Australian, the company appears to be trying again to get Channel Nine – it’s first attempt was 12 years ago, and was to purchase Kerry Packer’s PBL – and has been reportedly talking with Credit Suisse on a potential acquisition.
The report, however, notes that Telstra’s bid is deemed a “long shot” because it could undermine its stock value. Telstra already is in the television game with a 50 percent stake in Foxtel (News Corp, who owns The Australian, owns 25 percent in Foxtel). If Telstra does buy Nine Entertainment Co, it will also own ACP Magazines – publisher of APC and Australian Women’s Weekly – and its online portal Ninemsn.
Other potential bidders include Fairfax Media, but talks fell flat mainly because Fairfax pretty much has little money to fund a deal; and former MGM Studios chief Harry Sloan. Sloan is even reportedly trying to finance a $3 billion takeover of Nine.