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CBS vote looms after Gordon loses Ten case

Business

Bruce Gordon has failed in his attempt to derail CBS’s takeover of the Ten Network after the NSW Supreme Court ruled the embattled broadcaster’s administrator gave creditors sufficient information about his rival bid.

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Gordon’s majority-owned WIN affiliate and his investment company Birketu were ordered to pay costs today after Justice Ashley Black rejected an argument that KordaMentha failed to give creditors vital information about Mr Gordon’s joint bid with Lachlan Murdoch.

The ruling means a second creditors meeting over the KordaMetha-recommended CBS proposal can go ahead as planned on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the administrators confirmed the meeting was on and that creditors will be given the opportunity to vote for an adjournment to allow further time to consider the improved 11th-hour Gordon-Murdoch offer.

The decisions of CBS and the group representing Ten employees will be critical in deciding whether to adjourn or accept a bid for the free-to-air broadcaster, with those two parties having sufficient weight in debt and numbers to carry the vote.

CBS and Century Fox, of which Murdoch is executive chairman, are Ten’s largest creditors.

They are owed $348 million and $195 million, respectively, and their content deals with Ten have been a significant factor in the financial problems that drove the network into administration and a share trading halt since June.

Murdoch and Gordon had made a joint bid for Ten through their respective investment vehicles – Illyria and Birketu – but were trumped by CBS when it launched its surprise takeover in August.

Lawyers for Gordon’s interests had sought a declaration that KordaMentha failed to give creditors vital information about the original joint bid by Gordon and Murdoch when it recommended the proposal by US media giant CBS.

But Justice Black on Monday ruled that KordaMentha had provided enough information as well as satisfactory reasons for backing CBS, casting serious doubt the second bid lodged on Friday by Gordon and Murdoch.

They delivered a revised late bid to Ten’s administrators, hoping to sway the outcome by offering unsecured creditors up to $55 million compared to $32 million offered by CBS.

– AAP

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