News Corp and Telstra sign agreements to merge Foxtel and Fox Sports

• Foxtel to focus on live streaming products and an expanded library with more Australian productions

News Corp and Telstra have announced they have signed definitive agreements to combine Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia, with the aim of delivering premium and innovative content to Australians with ever greater quality, variety and efficiency.

The key commercial arrangements include:

• News Corp will have 65% shareholding in the combined entity and Telstra will have 35%.

• News Corp will appoint four directors (including the chairman) to the combined entity’s board and the senior executives, and Telstra will appoint two directors.

• News Corp will consolidate the combined entity into its financial statements.

The combined company will be:

• Putting greater emphasis on live streaming products and an expanded library, including Australian written, produced and directed programming.

• Delivering new and creative products and packages across devices and platforms, with investment in exclusive content and technology, including a focus on high quality Fox Sports Australia productions.

• Expanding distribution channels for Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia products, along with developing greater operating efficiencies across the combined businesses.

• Levering the benefits of the assets and experience of News Corp in Australia and around the world.

News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller with News Corp CEO Robert Thomson

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson said: “The launch of the combined company will mark the dawn of a new era for our Australian business, and Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia will together be a formidable force. We will be able to use our powerful media platforms to promote the unique sports and entertainment assets in the two companies, and improve services for consumers and advertisers. Patrick Delany (pictured top) and his talented team will be absolutely focused on serving viewers compelling, contemporary Australian content and superlative sports coverage on personalised platforms.”

Delany will be chief executive officer of the combined company.

Telstra CEO Andy Penn said the combination of Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia with their content assets would position the company to strongly compete in the dynamic media market, and it would continue to be an important part of Telstra’s media strategy.

“Our customers are streaming more and more sport and entertainment on their TV at home and on their mobile devices while on the move. Telstra will be the exclusive telco sales agent for the combined entity on mobile and IP products and we will continue with our broadcast reseller arrangements,” Penn said.

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said: “Under the leadership of Patrick Delany, this company will provide the exclusive and quality content that Australian consumers demand and expect. It will broadcast and stream in the most exciting, innovative and engaging ways across all platforms.”

The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2018.

Read more:

Mediaweek February interview with Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany

Mediaweek February interview with Foxtel executive director of TV Brian Walsh

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