PBL Mulls Another Selloff as One.Tel Spectre Continues to Haunt Tyros

30 May 2007

SYDNEY: Australia's Publishing & Broadcasting group is in new discussions with private-equity partner CVC Asia Pacific about unloading a further 25% of its media empire - presumably to raise funds for further investment in its international casinos business.

Such a sale would likely realise between US$330 million (€245.32m; £166.29m) and $410m.

Announced PBL: "The discussions are not concluded, and no relevant agreements have been entered into." The company will make a further statement if and when formal agreements are reached.

  • Meantime the debacle of failed telco One.Tel, run by the scions of the Packer and Murdoch clans, James and Lachlan, continues to haunt the two tyros in its prolonged death throes.

    The duo are embroiled in a new court action by the liquidator of the failed company, who seeks to recover $132 million which PBL and News Limited agreed to invest in the telephone group twelve days before its collapse in 2001.

    Due to an eleventh-hour veto by poppas Packer and Murdoch, the money never materialized and a statement of claim has now been filed in the NSW Supreme Court by One.Tel liquidator Paul Weston.

    Says Weston, a partner in accounting firm Deloitte: "My legal advisers and I have identified a number of causes of action against a number of parties. Once we have notified those people and they have been served we'll be able to say more about the matter."

    Any proceeds from the suit will go to One.Tel's creditors.

    Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online and Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff