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News Corp. makes bid for Australia's Consolidated Media Holdings

The company and News Corp. are co-owners of substantial media assets in Australia.

June 21, 2012|By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has made a roughly $2-billion offer for Consolidated Media Holdings, an Australian holding company that co-owns, with News Corp., substantial media assets in that region.

In a statement, Consolidated Media said News Corp. had offered $3.50 a share in Australian dollars, a 13.6% premium from the stock's trading price Wednesday on the Australian Securities Exchange.

News Corp. and CMH are partners in Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia, two large pay-TV companies in Australia. News Corp. owns 25% of Foxtel and 50% of Fox Sports Australia. Should the deal with CMH go through, News Corp. would own 50% of Foxtel and 100% of Fox Sports Australia. The remaining 50% of Foxtel is owned by Telstra Corp.

James Packer, executive chairman of CMH's largest shareholder, Consolidated Press Holdings, said the company welcomes News Corp.'s offer. He said it will move forward on working out the details of the terms and conditions and will "support the proposal in the absence of a superior cash offer."

The proposed deal will also have to be approved by Australian regulators.

It marks News Corp.'s second large overseas expansion in the last month. In May the company, the parent of 20th Century Fox, agreed to acquire a 19.9% stake in Beijing-based Bona Film Group, China's second-largest independent movie production and distribution firm.

joe.flint@latimes.com

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