ConsMedia close to Foxtel sale

CONSOLIDATED Media Holdings says it is six weeks away from selling its $2 billion stakes in Foxtel and Fox Sports to News Corp.

CONSOLIDATED Media Holdings says it is six weeks away from selling its $2 billion stakes in Foxtel and Fox Sports to News Corp.

The media company, controlled by James Packer, reported net profit of $85.8 million for the most recent financial year, down 16 per cent on a year earlier. ConsMedia absorbed as much as $16 million in costs from its demerger from PBL and Foxtel's acquisition of regional pay TV company Austar in May.

Foxtel contributed $42 million in profit to ConsMedia, up $4.4 million, but that excludes any earnings from Austar. ConsMedia has a 25 per cent stake in the pay TV platform until the News takeover. Fox Sports, 50 per cent owned by ConsMedia, provided $49 million of profit, down $2.1 million. Its share in Fox Sports is also part of the deal with News.

The results came on the same day as the ARL Commission agreed a $1 billion-plus, five-year deal to award the broadcast rights for rugby league to Nine and Fox Sports.

ConsMedia is 50.1 per cent owned by James Packer and 24.4 per cent by Kerry Stokes's Seven Group. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approved the takeover earlier this month and the market is now waiting to see if Mr Stokes will approve or oppose the takeover by Rupert Murdoch's News empire.

A dividend of 6? a share will be paid on October 5, the company said.

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