Australian free-to-air TV broadcaster Network Ten has been placed in voluntary administration after failing to secure a new financing model.
The decision follows news Ten received over the weekend from News Corporation co-chair Lachlan Murdoch’s investment company Illyria and businessman Bruce Gordon’s Birketu that they would not be extending or increasing their AUS$250 million (US$188 million) support for the broadcaster’s credit facilities beyond the term, which expires on Dec. 23.
Ten had been seeking to borrow another AUS$250 million.
As a result, Ten has appointed Mark Korda, Jennifer Nettleton and Jarrod Villani of advisory and investment firm Korda Mentha as voluntary administrators. The trio will work with management and content partners, while undertaking a financial and operational assessment of the business.
Operations at Australia’s third-ranked commercial free-to-air broadcaster will continue as much as possible on a business as usual basis, according to a network statement.
Ten Group has been endeavouring to boost its financial earnings, with potential sources of improvements identified in the company’s directors’ report contained in its Half Year Financial results announcement. Among the plans is a transformation process initiative expected to provide a positive impact on earnings of at least AUS$50 million in 2018, and potentially more than AUS$80 million per annum by full-year 2019.
As well, the network is seeking to renegotiate its material programming contracts with its U.S. studio partners, Fox and CBS. If finalized and implemented, the replacement contracts would reduce – by nearly 50% – the Ten Group’s future liabilities for American content while “still allowing Ten to access the best productions of those studios over the medium term,” according to the network.
The network is home to such unscripted series as I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, Australian Survivor, Shark Tank, Gogglebox, MasterChef Australia, Bondi Rescue, Bondi Vet and The Bachelor Australia franchise.
In a statement, the Australian broadcaster said: “The directors of Ten regret very much that these circumstances have come to pass… In particular, they would like to express their sincere gratitude, respect and admiration for Ten’s leadership team, who have achieved everything the board has asked them to do over the past few years in very challenging circumstances. They wish Ten and its management Ten all success in the future as the administrators look to the potential sale or recapitalization of the business.”