CBS in U.S. to buy Ten Network

The troubled network will be taken over by U.S. giant CBS Corporation in a deal announced on Monday morning, while Harris and co-anchors Denise Drysdale and Joe Hildebrand were live on air.

Broadcaster CBS has struck a deal to acquire Australia's Ten Network, bankruptcy receivers PPB Advisory and insolvency specialists KordaMentha said.

Neither party disclosed details of the deal, but analysts and local media valued Ten at A$200 million to A$250 million ($160 million to $200 million).

"We are committed to the efficient, reliable and successful turnaround, operation and development of Ten".

"As part of the agreement to purchase the Network Ten business, CBS will provide immediate financial support to ensure continuity of operations ahead of the upcoming meeting of creditors", he said.

The US studio holds a 33% stake in ElevenCo - the parent company of digital channel Eleven - and Ten holds the remaining two thirds.

Simultaneously, the United States studio revealed its subscription streaming service CBS All Access will launch in Australia.

Leslie Moonves, chairman of CBS, said that he was pleased at the move and saw the local network as a "prime broadcasting asset". The Aussie network recently went into receivership, but would likely continue with investment from CBS.

The CBS Corporation has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Australia's free-to-air commercial TV broadcaster Network Ten.

"This acquisition not only presents CBS with considerable broadcasting opportunities in Australia, but also allows for further multi-platform distribution and growth", CBS Studios International president Armando Nunez said.

The Murdoch-Gordon joint bid was contingent on a suite of media reforms which have been blocked by the Australian senate. What most people probably didn't realise was that Ten was swimming in staggering debts - with hundreds of millions in unpaid loans and content deals. An expansion to Canada was announced earlier this month, and reports suggest Australia is among the other planned forays.

CBS will also be able to assist Ten with its catch-up service TenPlay, where the programming lineup is critical. Its current market cap its over $A28 billion on the New York Stock Exchange. The imminent launch of CBS's streaming service, CBS All-access, will further fragment this market. Ten is now renegotiating content deals with CBS and Fox, a group connected to Murdoch interests.

With the backing of the cashed-up CBS, Ten's sport fortunes are expected to take a turn for the better.

Ten is now trailing its rivals Nine and Seven in television ratings.

Vanessa Coleman

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