The ACCC has announced that it will not oppose Birketu Pty Ltd (Birketu) and Illyria Nominees Television Pty Ltd’s (Illyria) proposed joint bid to acquire Ten Network Holdings Limited (Ten).
Birketu, owned by Bruce Gordon, and Illyria, owned by Lachlan Murdoch, propose to each acquire a 50% interest in Ten, and to operate it as a joint venture entity. Gordon and Murdoch have links with a number of media assets in Australia.
“The ACCC considers that this deal is unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any relevant market, despite it lessening competition via a greater alignment of Mr Murdoch’s, Mr Gordon’s, and Ten’s interests,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
The ACCC does not have significant concerns about the potential for overlap between Gordon’s WIN interests and Ten as the networks are broadcast in separate geographic areas.
“Our review focused on how the transaction would result in an expansion of Murdoch interests in Australian media, when they already have a significant influence in newspapers, Foxtel, radio, and television production,” Sims said.
“We considered whether the acquisition would significantly reduce competition, by causing a reduction in the quality and range of news content, or increasing the negotiation power of the combined Ten/Foxtel/News Corporation.”
Meanwhile, The Australian’s Bridget Carter reports that the other major bidder – hedge fund Oaktree – is believed to have pulled out of the contest to buy the Ten.