Australian billionaire James Packer, majority owner of Consolidated Media Holdings, is looking to cut his ties with the media business, founded by his great-grandfather, by selling his shares to fellow family-run News Corporation.
Following an offer of AUS$3.50 (€2.81) per share by News Corp, CMH said on 20 June that it will “engage constructively” with Murdoch family-controlled media conglomerate.
Packer, who owns 50% of CMH through Consolidated Press Holdings Limited, said in the statement he “will support the proposal [by News Corp] in the absence of a superior cash offer”. Murdoch’s bid valued CMH at AUS$2 billion.
If the sale of CMH does go ahead, it will see 44-year-old Packer all but exit from the media empire founded by Robert Clyde Packer, who was a journalist. Over the years, the family business has sold its stakes in a number of other newspaper and television groups, such as Nine Network, which was sold in 2006 for AUS$4.5 billion.
Packer has retained just a 10% stake in television company Ten Network, while reinvesting most of the proceeds from sales into building his casino operations in Australia, Macau and Las Vegas.
For the Murdoch family, whose News Corp owns the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, the purchase would help it increase its presence in Australia’s pay-TV market. CMH has a 25% stake in Foxtel – Australia’s biggest pay-TV company – and a 50% holding in content provider Fox Sports Australia.