Date: June 20 2012
The consumer watchdog says it will review News Ltd's $1.97 billion bid to take full control of James Packer's Consolidated Media, which would allow its owner Rupert Murdoch to dominate Australia's pay TV industry.
News Ltd, the Australian arm of global media giant News Corp, has offered to take full control of Mr Packer's Cons Media, which is News' 50:50 joint owner of Fox Sports.
It would also increase News' stake in Foxtel from 25 to 50 per cent, making it a joint owner with Telstra.
But the takeover offer is subject to many conditions, most importantly Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approval.
An ACCC spokesman today said the watchdog would review Mr Murdoch's bid and the decision would be made public.
"We will commence the review of the proposed acquisition and details of the review will be posted on the ACCC's public register," he told AAP.
Meanwhile, Telstra said it would be happy to work with News Ltd as a joint owner of Foxtel and believed the move would be good for shareholders and customers.
"We've worked successfully with News as partners in Foxtel and we look forward to this partnership continuing to deliver value for Foxtel shareholders and a great pay TV experience for customers," a Telstra spokeswoman told AAP.
Mr Packer, whose Consolidated Press Holdings (CPH) owns a controlling stake in Consolidated Media, has said he would support the News Ltd proposal.
"CPH welcomes News' proposal and looks forward to (Consolidated Media) and News working together to address the detailed terms and conditions," Mr Packer said in a statement.
The News Corp board must also approve the deal.
The offer was indicative and there was no guarantee a deal would be done, News said.
At 1237 News Corp shares were up six cents, or 0.3 per cent, to $20.10, while Consolidated Media Shares were up 30 cents, or 9.74 per cent, to $3.38.
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