News Limited has made a $2 billion offer for Consolidated Media which would raise its stake in Fox Sports from 25 percent to 100 percent.
ConsMedia’s 50 per cent-shareholder James Packer has reportedly said that he would support News Limited’s $3.50 a share bid in the absence of a higher offer, describing it as “fair”. The company’s price was $3.08 at the close of business on Tuesday.
The Australian newspaper reported that Packer, who owns the ConsMedia stake through his Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH), said today: “CPH welcomes News’ proposal and looks forward to [ConsMedia] and News working together to address the detailed terms and conditions”.
If the bid is successful the deal will give News Limited, which holds 25 per cent of Foxtel, a further 25 per cent of the pay-TV company and 100 per cent of Fox Sports, which owns key sports content such as the national Rugby League and AFL as well as soccer.
News Limited already holds management rights to Foxtel, appointing the chief executive, currently Richard Freudenstein, and the acquisition of Fox Sports would cement its dominance of Foxtel, reported The Australian.
Foxtel has about 1.65 million subscribing households.
News Limited must obtain approval for the deal from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Foreign Investment Review Board. Kerry Stokes’ Seven Group Holdings owns 24.44 per cent of ConsMedia and is yet to comment on the offer.