News Corp gets go-ahead for Consolidated Media takeover

The takeover by News Corporation of Australia’s Consolidated Media Holdings for AUD 1.94bn (US$ 2bn) has been approved by both the latter’s shareholders and the Federal Court of Australia, clearing the way for News Corp to double its share in pay-TV provider Foxtel to 50% and gain full ownership of sports channel Fox Sports.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, News Corporation said the court had “approved the scheme of arrangement between CMH and its shareholders under which News Pay TV Financing Pty Limited, a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of News Corporation, will acquire all of the shares in CMH for $3.45 per CMH share.”

Over 99% of shareholders in Consolidated Media Holdings voted in favour of the takeover bid earlier this week, following the recommendations of board members after no better offers were made.

Earlier this month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) confirmed that it would not oppose the takeover of Consolidated Media Holdings by News Corp.

Telecoms provider Telstra owns the other 50% of Foxtel, which completed a much-scrutinised merger with rival Austar last May, creating a national pay-TV service under the Foxtel brand that will serve 2.2mn households.

Richard Freudenstein, CEO of Foxtel, told local media very recently that he is interested in exploring the possibility of launching triple-play and IPTV services in Australia, and is gunning for a 50% share of the Australian pay-TV market.

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