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Murdoch, Gordon pull support for Ten

13 Juin 2017

Australia's Ten Network said two local media magnates had declined to extend their support for a $150 million (118.5 million pounds) debt guarantee past 2017 - a move that increases the risk of the troubled broadcaster seeking receivership.

It now needs to secure alternative funding before then, or face administration.

It's a tough market for free-to-air television at the moment, as streaming services such as Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime and Foxtel continue to rise in popularity.

"The programs and the ratings that they're getting for the costs involved is a mismatch; it wasn't five years ago, but it is now".

The current credit facility of $200 million with the Commonwealth Bank expires on December 23 and company wants to replace this with a new $250 million loan.

Advisers for Murdoch and Gordon told Ten they don't "intend to extend or increase their support" for the company's loans beyond their current term, which ends December 23, the network said in a stock exchange filing today. A representative for Packer was not immediately available for comment. The company Tuesday asked for its shares to be halted from trading for 48 hours.

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Murdoch owns 7.7% of the network and Gordon 15%.

The package has wide support in the media industry but some independent senators, who control the Australian upper house, have said they are concerned the diversity of local content could suffer.

"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.

And Credit Suisse said: "We see Ten as un-investible for most investors due to operating losses and funding concerns".

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.

Murdoch, Gordon pull support for Ten