The Bull

Tuesday 19

September, 2017 9:40 PM



CBS bid for Ten labelled 'discriminatory'

CBS bid for Ten labelled 'discriminatory'

Lawyers for billionaire Ten shareholder Bruce Gordon have told a court that a takeover by CBS treats some of the broadcaster's creditors unfairly.

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By AAP 13.09.2017 03:15 PM

Ten's administrators failed to tell the broadcaster's creditors that a takeover by US media giant CBS did not treat all of them equally, and was therefore likely to be challenged, lawyers for rival bidder Bruce Gordon have told a court.

Dr Andrew Bell, SC, representing Mr Gordon, said the CBS bid that has been selected by administrators KordaMentha included "unexplained and inexplicable discriminatory treatment" carrying a high potential for litigation.

KordaMentha should have told creditors the bid stood in stark contrast to Mr Gordon and 21st Century Fox executive co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch's bid, where creditors "are all treated equally", Dr Bell told the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"Why would creditors give a tick to something that's going to get attacked when two reputable people put forward an offer with comparatively less risk?" Dr Bell said.

Kordamentha argued there were other factors, including possible media ownership complications associated with Gordon-Murdoch bid, which could mean creditors facing a lengthy wait to get paid.

The administrator released a supplementary creditors report on Monday outlining the reasons for recommending the CBS offer, after the rival bidders successfully delayed a second creditors meeting.

Dr Bell said that report "continues to obdurately" not address the issues of risk, or the quantification of effective value upon which the decision to recommend the US media giant's bid was made.

"We are dealing with very experienced administrators who know the lie of the land," he said.

"They must have known the effective value yet it is not addressed - it is suppressed - indeed the original report doesn't even identify the people who made the other offer," Dr Bell said.

The inadequate risk disclosure and the likelihood of a legal challenge due to "apparently discriminatory treatment of creditors" in the CBS bid was not so much misleading as "glaringly unaddressed," he said.

Birketu and Illyria will argue that CBS not be allowed to vote at the next creditors meeting, which is due to be held on September 19.

The hearing continues.

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