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Media families unite in joint venture

Two of the world's most powerful media families have joined forces once again to make an offer for Australian firm Consolidated Media Holdings. Lachlan Murdoch, the eldest son of Rupert, and James Packer (pictured), CMH's executive deputy chairman, have launched a 50/50 joint venture to acquire 100% of the firm for $4.06 per share.

CMH owns a stake in subscription television business FOXTEL, sports channel FOX Sports and online employment business SEEK. Consolidated Press Holdings, the Packer family's private company, currently owns 38% of the firm.

CMH has said that there is no guarantee of a sale, but the board has met to begin consideration of the proposal. Packer has stepped down from his position until all discussions are over.

The move comes less than three months after Packer split media and gambling firm Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd, the company founded by his grandfather, into two separate businesses: CMH and Crown Ltd.

The families will be hoping that history will not repeat itself after they did a catastrophic piece of business together in 1999. News Corp and PBL invested in Australian telecom carrier One.Tel and James and Lachlan were on the board of directors. However, the company collapsed in 2001 and the families lost a reported $1 billion between them.

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