Tuesday, 06 March 2018 09:13

Foxtel, Fox Sports Australia to become single entity Featured

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News Corporation and Telstra have announced an agreement to combine Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia, in what they claim is a move that "will deliver premium and innovative content to Australians with ever greater quality, variety and efficiency".

In a statement, the companies said the commercial arrangements would be:

  • News Corp will have 65% shareholding in the combined entity and Telstra will have 35%;
  • It will appoint four directors (including the chairman) to the combined entity’s board and the senior executives, and Telstra will appoint two directors; and
  • It will consolidate the combined entity into its financial statements.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson said: “The launch of the combined company will mark the dawn of a new era for our Australian business, and Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia will together be a
formidable force.

"We will be able to use our powerful media platforms to promote the unique sports and entertainment assets in the two companies, and improve services for consumers and advertisers. Patrick Delany and his talented team will be absolutely focused on serving viewers compelling, contemporary Australian content and superlative sports coverage on personalised platforms.”

Delany will be chief executive of the combined company.

Telstra chief executive Andy Penn said: “Our customers are streaming more and more sport and entertainment on their TV at home and on their mobile devices while on the move. Telstra will be the exclusive telco sales agent for the combined entity on mobile and IP products and we will continue with our broadcast reseller arrangements.

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said: "Under the leadership of Patrick Delany, this company will provide the exclusive and quality content that Australian consumers demand and expect. It will broadcast and stream in the most exciting, innovative and engaging ways across all platforms.”

The combined company will aim to:

  • Place greater emphasis on live streaming products and an expanded library, including Australian written, produced and directed programming;
  • Deliver new and creative products and packages across devices and platforms, with investment in exclusive content and technology, including a focus on high quality Fox Sports Australia productions;
  • Expand distribution channels for Foxtel and FOX SPORTS Australia products, along with developing greater operating efficiencies across the combined businesses; and
  • Leverage the benefits of the assets and experience of News Corp in Australia and around the world.

In an update about its accounting treatment of the new entity Telstra said its investment in the new company would be equity accounted on an ongoing basis.

"Telstra expects to record a one-off accounting gain as a result of the fair value of the combined business compared with the book value," the company said. "The current estimate of this gain is $263 million.

"This is subject to changes arising from the timing of completion and finalisation of adjustments on completion.

"There are no changes to Telstra’s previously stated guidance for financial year 2018 as a result of the completion of this transaction."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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