Following a trading halt on the ASX yesterday, the beleaguered Ten Network has been placed into voluntary administration.
Ten’s directors have appointed Korda Mentha as the voluntary administrators of the network and its subsidiaries.
The announcement comes after key investors Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon – who each have a stake in the organisation via private investment firms Illyria and Birketu – declined to guarantee a $250 million loan.
A statement from Ten said it was left with “no choice but to appoint administrators.”
The administrators are said to have advised Ten that they will work closely with management, employees, suppliers and content partners while they undertake a financial and operational assessment of the business, during which period operations are intended to continue on a “business as usual basis”.
“The directors of Ten regret very much that these circumstances have come to pass. They wish to take this opportunity to thank all Ten employees and contractors for their commitment and enthusiasm for Ten’s programs and business,” said Ten’s statement.
“In particular, they would like to express their sincere gratitude, respect and admiration for Ten’s leadership team, who have achieved everything the board has asked them to do over the past few years in very challenging circumstances. They wish Ten and its management Ten all success in the future as the administrators look to the potential sale or recapitalisation of the business.”
In an attempt to improve future earnings, Ten, which reported a half year net loss of $232.2 million in May, had been in the process of renegotiating programming contracts with US studio partners Fox and CBS. If finalised, Ten said it would be able to reduce by approximately 50 per cent future liabilities for US content.
The news of Ten's voluntary administration comes as the Federal Government negotiates its media reform package, which includes the scrapping of broadcast licence fees, abolishment out of the two out of three rule and the 75 per cent reach rule.
In a statement Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield said Ten’s announcement was a “wake up call to opponents of media reform” arguing Labor’s “gamesmanship” had limited the options for companies like Ten.
“That a major Australian media organisation is in such difficulty should be a matter of concern,” said Senator Fifield.
“The Government’s reforms are vital measures that will unshackle Australia’s media industry from redundant laws and allow it to respond to increasing international competition.”