The board of SP Telemedia has put the weights on would-be suitors PBL and WIN by declaring that it wants all offers for its media assets, which include NBN, the Nine Network affiliate network, in by 5 pm today.
This is after WIN, which is Nine’s major regional affiliate, lodged a binding offer late Friday offer for SP Telemedia’s media assets, including NBN and the outside broadcasting and production operations. The binding offer topped the exclusive due diligence period granted to PBL Media on 23 April.
The WIN bid forced the hand of SP Telemedia’s board, which said this morning:
In light of the interest in the company’s media assets and the extensive due diligence process which has been conducted by interested parties, the board has decided that it will review all competing offers for those assets received by 5pm today.”
There could be other parties bidding with private equity having shown interest as well. WIN has already topped PBL Media’s lightweight offer for STW9 in Perth of $136 million. PBL Media said that would not be increased, so the $163.2 million net value of the WIN offer has the reluctant endorsement of the Sunraysia TV board (it owns STW 9).
PBL Media — specifically James Packer, John Alexander, Ian Law and Chris Anderson — will now have to bid a knock out price for NBN otherwise it faces the prospect of finding WIN is too important a partner to ignore and to force it to pay more in its affiliates agreement with Nine.
PBL Media wants WIN to pay more for being a Nine affiliate: it currently pays Nine around 27 to 30% of its revenue: PBL Media wants this lifted to 50%.
WIN has said no and launched bids for STW to pressure the Packer camp and then moved on its fellow regional affiliate NBN by approaching the board of Sp Telemedia. This has forced the Packer camp to more than double the amount it planned to spend on expanding the Nine Network.
It will now have to lift that amount again if it wants NBN to counter a WIN move in Perth.