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Ten in limbo after billionaire shareholders pull support


Ten Network’s future has been thrown into doubt after its billionaire shareholders decided not to support a new funding deal for the loss-making commercial free-to-air broadcaster.

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Shares in Ten have been placed in a trading halt after Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon – who own stakes through their respective private investment vehicles Illyria and Birketu – said they will no longer guarantee its debt when its current debt facility expires on December 23.

“Ten’s board is considering the position of the company in light of the position being taken by Illyria and Birketu and the range of restructuring and refinancing initiatives it has underway,” Ten said in a statement to the ASX.

Ten is seeking a new, $250 million debt facility in place of the $200 million one guaranteed by Murdoch, Gordon and fellow shareholder James Packer in 2013.

Announcing a $232 million first-half loss in April, Ten said a new facility would be necessary to meet current debts and flagged that it would seek new financiers if no guarantee was forthcoming from the billionaire trio.

Renewed cost cuts are likely at the network to satisfy any new lenders.

Ten has flagged renegotiation of some of its programming contracts as one potential savings area, and all commercial TV networks received a gift from the Federal Government in the May federal budget when broadcast licence fees were scrapped in favour of cheaper spectrum usage charges.

Ten shares last traded at an all-time closing low of 16 cents after falling by more than 90 per cent in the past two years.


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