No takers for the 25% of PBL Media still held by PBL (soon to be inserted into Cons Media Holdings). Lachlan Murdoch isn’t interested, but in checking around the story, something new emerged.

Not only is there a covenant restricting PBL’s freedom to sell the 25% stake until September 10, 2009 (except if CVC approves), there’s also an option held by PBL to buy the first 50% of PBL Media back from CVC in the event it wants to sell.

The option might never be exercised: James Packer is pushing deeper into gambling, but it does indicate he can see the value of an appropriately priced re-entry into media, just as his father bought Nine back when Bond Media fell over in the late 1980s.

Crikey has always wondered if CVC was James Packer’s Alan Bond: it would seem there’s a mechanism in place to allow that to happen, one way or another.

But the option also gives PBL some protection in case the possible buyer is someone the Packer camp doesn’t like and offers it the ability to control the way CVC sells. This first right option would restrict the ability of CVC to hold some sort of auction, unless it could get clearance from PBL first.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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