Does anyone seriously think that Bruce Gordon and WIN will be upset that PBL Media and James Packer are trying to buy STW Nine in Perth, where Gordon has an unworkable 45% stake and has been shut out for years?

Does anyone seriously think that Gordon will try to frustrate the PBL-Packer deal when the Nine network is vital to the financial health (and family wealth) of WIN and the Gordon empire?

Well, the tone of the reporting in the SMH and The Australian today would suggest just that. Nine supplies the programming for WIN’s basic business, regional TV. If the Gordon family decided to hold out in Perth, Nine would find plenty of ways to place pressure on WIN.

While WIN has been stuck in Sunraysia without any money or power coming back, it has built its regional business and grown on the back of its links to Nine. So why would Gordon antagonise Nine by holding out for more in Perth?

The deal values the Sunraysia shares at around $12 each, which is less than the $13.50 they were trading at before the announcement. Industry watchers claim Nine will move on Adelaide next… perhaps.

NWS Nine is already a lean machine because of the cost cutting by Tony Bell at Southern Cross. He is also a Ten affiliate so the possibility of deals between Bell, Gordon and PBL media are many.

Many in the industry have noted the close relationship between Bruce Gordon and the late Kerry Packer: Gordon seemed to be a proxy for the Packer interests, especially in Perth, and it is claimed the original attempt to buy the station by WIN was done with the blessing of Park Street. If Gordon and WIN do try to frustrate Packer it will be a signal that that relationship has foundered.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey