The Nine Network has made a renewed effort to win the Value Destruction Award of the Decade in the Australian media. It’s 2015-16 annual report and accounts reveal another tale of how Australian media companies and their various owners can simply blow up value like few others. Nine has already been racked by impairment and other losses of around $2.6 billion in the past four or five years, as well as a bailout by two big US investors. Nine, though, is in the undistinguished line of local media companies, especially in TV, wasting shareholder funds.
For example, Kerry Stokes wasted billions in the merger of Seven Network with West Australian Media. Back in 2011 the merged company was worth $4.1 billion. Yesterday, Seven West Media was worth just $1.17 billion — with total write-downs and impairments of more than $2.5 billion as the company was caught by the downturn in print media advertising and circulation, the slide in TV advertising and the rise of the internet and giants like Google and Facebook.
Nine has written down value of its 33% stake in Sky News owner, Australian News Channel. And remember the big write-down ($653 million) in the value of the Nine Network that we saw in 2015. There’s also the huge losses, estimated at $1.8 billion, from the CVC ownership of Nine (it bought the company from James Packer). And the accounts reveal there could be more impairments in a year’s time if the metro and regional TV ad markets worsen in 2016-17 .
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