Moneymen Pull Plug on Murdoch Minor's Deal With Pal Packer

07 March 2008

SYDNEY: The A$3.3 billion ($3.07bn; €2.01bn; £1.54bn) deal to take Australia's Consolidated Media Holdings into private ownership, hatched by dynasty scions Lachlan Murdoch (pictured) and James Packer, looks set to fall flat on its face after the moneymen pulled the plug on Murdoch's financing.

The news that San Francisco private equity firm SPO Partners had withdrawn from the transaction was broken by Murdoch to CMH Wednesday evening.

The Australian Securities Exchange promptly granted a trading halt on CMH shares until Monday or such time as an announcement is made about the company's future.

There appear to be only two immediate options: either the deal is as dead as a dingo's dinner or Murdoch can swiftly find an alternative  source of funding.  Other than pops.  

Meantime, lips are zipped all round, with an SPOP spokeswoman muttering "we have no comment."

However, according to insiders SPOP was smitten by a sudden attack of cold feet as the Australian dollar rose like a rocket against its US equivalent. Nor did the global subprime turmoil help any.

Consolidated Media holdings owns substantial interests in the Nine TV network, Foxtel and Sky News.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff