SYDNEY: Australia’s Ten Network, one of the nation’s three commercial channels which broadcasts shows such as “I’m a Celebrity”, was Wednesday placed in voluntary administration after failing to secure a new finance package.
The station, which like many media groups is being hammered by slumping advertising revenues, was forced to take the drastic step after two billionaire backers refused to continue guaranteeing a key loan.
“This decision follows correspondence received from Illyria and Birketu over the weekend which left the directors with no choice but to appoint administrators,” the company said in a statement.
News Corporation co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch’s investment company Illyria and businessman Bruce Gordon’s Birketu said they would not support a new Aus$250 million (US$188 million) loan the broadcaster needs to stay afloat.
The pair, along with Crown Resorts majority owner James Packer, were guarantors on Aus$200 million in debt financing due to expire in December.
Ten, whose shows include “Big Bash League” cricket, “Australian Survivor” and “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here”, had been seeking an amended or new borrowing facility of Aus$250 million.
KordaMentha, which was appointed as voluntary administrators, said it would work with management and content partners while undertaking a financial and operational assessment, with a view to either recapitalise or sell the business.
“During this period, the administrators intend to continue operations as much as possible on a business as usual basis,” said Ten, Australia’s third-ranked commercial free-to-air broadcaster, behind the Nine and Seven networks.
The Australian Financial Review, citing sources, said Ten management believed they had a plan to keep the broadcaster public and viable, but needed to renegotiate content deals with US studios 21st Century Fox and CBS.
Ten, which has been on air since 1964, posted a net loss in September-February of Aus$232 million, but said it had identified cost and revenue initiatives.