Southern Cross Broadcasting’s Tony Bell knows an opportunity when he sees one, so when The Australian asked yesterday if the company’s Nine Network station, NWS 9 in Adelaide, might be on the market if PBL Media was frustrated from acquiring STW 9 in Perth, he said “I think anybody is a seller of any asset at the right price.”

Rather than putting it on the market directly, Bell signalled to James Packer and the gang at PBL Media to drop in and bat around a price if Perth was no longer a deal. And you never know what will happen, especially if WIN gets hold of Perth.

Even though Adelaide is a smaller and declining market compared to Perth, NWS 9 has the benefit of being in a far more competitive position than STW 9, with good ratings, revenue positive and some earnings.

STW is losing money and revenues and is a ratings black hole. It needs far more spent on it to bring it into shape and it needs executives with TV knowledge, something that’s in short supply at PBL Media these days.

It’s significant that Bell’s comments came as WIN and PBL Media went to court, where WIN’s barrister, John Sheahan SC, indicated that WIN could lob a higher bid at Sunraysia than the $136 million offered by PBL Media. That’s less than $12 a share while WIN has claimed it had an offer of $13.85 on the table.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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