Murdoch and Packer Press On with Media Venture

06 February 2008

SYDNEY: A new alliance between the scions of Australia's most powerful media clans is steadily taking shape as Consolidated Media Holdings opens its books to a consortium fronted by Lachlan Murdoch.

His private investment company, Illyria, and its equity partners have launched a bid to buy into CMH and form a 50/50 joint venture with the latter's shareholder, Consolidated Press Holdings - controlled by James Packer.

If the A$3.3 billion ($2.9bn; €2.03bn; £1.5bn) deal comes to fruition, the pair will run CMH as a private company, with Murdoch as executive chairman, while Packer focuses on his gaming interests.

Murdoch and his financiers, SPO Partners and ANZ Bank, have four weeks for due diligence into the business, which controls 25% of pay-TV provider Foxtel, around 27% of the nation's leading jobs website and 25% of press and TV group PBL Media.

The deal would mark Junior's first major business foray since quitting his father Rupert's News Corporation conglomerate in 2005.

However, CMH has made it clear that: "The granting of access to the data room … is not an indication that the board is endorsing the proposal or that it supports any such proposal proceeding."

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