News Corp to ACQUIRE Consolidated Media Australia While Shares RISE

On Wednesday, News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) made a $2 billion takeover offer for Australia’s Consolidated Media Holdings (CMJ.AX) while announcing Australian cost and job cuts.

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By accepting News Corp.’s offer, CEO James Packer will have funds to build his expanding his casino empire while Rupert Murdoch’s accepted bid will allow his media empire to double its share in Australia’s pay-TV business Foxtel to 50 percent with a 100 percent of content provider for Fox Sports, reported Bloomberg.

Once part of a media empire thanks to decades of work by his father Kerry Packer and grandfather Sir Frank Packer, the youngest Packer will now have a small holding remaining in the industry: a 10 percent share of stake in the television company Ten Network (TEN.AX).

Packer said to the Australian Financial Review, “My family has a long history in media but I am a pragmatist. This is a good deal. This proposal would suggest that my long-term interests lie in the entertainment and gaming side of my business.”

Recently, Packer bought a 10 percent share of the Sydney casino-owner Echo Entertainment (EGP.AX) via Crown Ltd (CWN.AX). There has been rumors that he wants to utilize Echo’s license to build a new Sydney casino complex to gain additional Asian high-end gamblers.

He already has a 48 percent share of Crown Ltd (CWN), the owner of Melbourne’s Crown Casino; he is also building a Macau casino business by partnering with the Hong Kong businessman Lawrence Ho.

Meanwhile for News Corp., it will expand its pay-TV interests amid a corporate restructuring and job cuts at its Australian business, which has 70 percent control of the country’s newspapers, reported Bloomberg.

Paul Xiradis, managing director of Ausbil Dexia, which has ownership stakes in News Corp and Echo said of the transaction, “It makes sense for them to acquire Consolidated Media and the price seems reasonable.” News Corp. has said changes may take 24 months but it still sees a future in print.

Quite simply put, Kim Williams, Chief Executive of News Corp’s Australian operations said, “Print is not dead.” Investors liked the news as Consolidated Media shares rose to A$3.39, just under the A$3.50 a share offer, while News Corp’s listed shares (NASDAQ:NWS) increased 0.8 percent to A$20.20.

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