STRUGGLING TEN NETWORK IS 'CASH POSITIVE' AND CAN BE SAVED, ADMINISTRATOR SAYS
Written on the 27 June 2017 by Ben Hall
THE ADMINISTRATORS of the Ten Network say the struggling broadcaster has cash to continue operating and have also indicated there are several interested buyers.
Ten's main lender, the Commonwealth Bank, is set to appoint a receiver who could still look at sale options for the broadcaster following the first meeting of the creditors of the network.
Administrators KordaMentha says when the Commonwealth Bank appoints a receiver in coming weeks, a new financial facility will be put in place to keep Ten broadcasting.
"Ten is cash-flow positive at the present time," KordaMentha senior partner Mark Korda told the ABC.
"Ratings are good, collected all our debts, so it's pretty much business as usual as far as advertisers, employees and programs are concerned," Korda says.
Following the first creditors' meeting, it is understood the group's billionaire backers Bruce Gordon, Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer have signalled they will support a new financial facility to keep the network on air.
Mark Korda says Gordon, Murdoch and Packer will provide support for the facility, although the final figures were yet to be confirmed.
"My understanding is it's all three at the present time," Mr Korda said after the meeting.
Of the original $200 million facility at the heart of Ten's woes, Korda says it has been drawn down to $97 million at the date of his appointment on Tuesday last week.
"We have adequate cash resources at this time, but by the end of this week the shareholder guarantors will put a financing facility in place to ensure that Ten has sufficient cash to continue to operate," Korda says.
KordaMentha will seek a court extension to delay the next meeting, due to be held on July 19, in an effort to push back the time frame to recapitalise the business, possibly until parliament next sits in August.
Mark Korda says he is hopeful that federal parliament will pass media reform laws that could help save the Ten Network but he was not reliant on the changes that would allow for restructured ownership with the potential for Murdoch and Gordon to pitch for control of the broadcaster.
"Obviously the industry needs the media laws to change and Channel Ten is a player in that industry. But we believe the company can be recapitalised, irrespective of any change to the media laws," Korda says.
The directors of Ten put the company into administration on 14 June after Murdoch and Gordon wrote to them to say they would not secure a $200 million loan with the Commonwealth Bank that they had guaranteed.
The 14-member creditors' committee includes three employees' representatives, the US network CBS, broadcaster Fox, production houses Endemol Shine and Fremantle Media, the Commonwealth Bank and the investment vehicles of major shareholders Bruce Gordon, Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer - Birketu, Illyria and Consolidated Press Holdings.
Cricket Australia, who is still owed money from the Big Bash League, Metroweather, and Starcom Media are also on the committee.
Korda says at this stage there will be no redundancies at the network.
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Author: Ben Hall