There’s a story going round top Sydney media circles today suggesting that Lachlan Murdoch has made a major media play, doing a deal to buy the 25% of PBL Media not owned by the CVC private equity group.
The deal, if true, comes as PBL is about to split into two companies: Crown to hold the gambling interests, and Consolidated Media Holdings, which will hold the 25% of PBL Media, 25% of Foxtel, 50% of Premier Media Group and 27% of Seek.
CVC owns 75% of PBL Media, bought in two tranches from PBL. The second purchase of 25% was done for around $515 million and today’s story suggests that Murdoch’s deal was done at around the same price.
No one could be contacted to comment, but it should be pointed out that according to the scheme of arrangement and split documents for the breaking up of PBL, it is hard for the Packer company to sell that remaining stake without CVC’s approval:
PBL may not sell its interest until after 10 September 2009 without the consent of Red Earth. On any transfer by PBL or Red Earth, each other party has certain rights in relation to that sale. In certain circumstances, Red Earth can force PBL to sell its remaining 25% interest to a purchaser of Red Earth’s interest.”, the document says in Section 14.12.
So if the Murdoch story is correct it would mean he has been approved by CVC.
If true it could mean he, or News Corp, is the preferred buyer for the remaining 75% of PBL Media, which owns the three Nine Network stations and ACP Magazines.