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Spurned Ten bidders consider legal options

Network 10 creditors have accepted the proposed takeover bid from American media company CBS, although legal options are still open to the sidelined joint venture offer from News Corporation executive co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch and WIN founder Bruce Gordon.

Creditors decided to proceed with a meeting on Tuesday, despite a revised joint offer by Mr Murdoch and Mr Gordon.

The meeting voted overwhelmingly in favour of the CBS offer, which had been sweetened on Monday night to give trade creditors $40 million, rather the $32 million first offered.

Prior to the creditors’ meeting, Mr Gordon opted to postpone a planned appeal over the NSW Supreme Court ruling on his action over the KordaMentha creditors’ report. He had claimed the report lacked transparency over his joint offer, however Justice Ashley Black found these claims to be unsubstantiated.

Mr Gordon is believed to be considering an appeal through his regional TV network WIN Corporation when KordaMentha applies to have shares in Ten transferred to CBS.

If the appeal is successful, the vote at the creditors’ meeting to accept the CBS bid will be declared null and void.

The meeting, which included creditors and employees, voted “overwhelmingly” for the CBS offer.

CBS will use debt owed by the broadcaster to make the purchase, with US television network Fox to receive a payment of $12 million, based on the current contract with Ten. The creditors’ trust warranty of $5 million will be cancelled.

The deal is expected to be completed in four to six weeks, subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board – and any subsequent legal action by Mr Gordon.

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