InvestSMART
The Intelligent Investor Growth Fund is listing on the ASX. Initial Offer closes Friday.

ConsMedia expects Austar deal approval as sport TV rights rise

THE pay TV investment company Consolidated Media Holdings, controlled by James Packer, expects Foxtel's bid for Austar to overcome competition concerns but says Fox Sports will continue to battle higher programming costs, including inflated pitches for NRL rights.

THE pay TV investment company Consolidated Media Holdings, controlled by James Packer, expects Foxtel's bid for Austar to overcome competition concerns but says Fox Sports will continue to battle higher programming costs, including inflated pitches for NRL rights.

During its annual results briefing yesterday, the executive chairman, John Alexander, said he expected the Austar takeover to proceed, but he did not detail the basis of that expectation other than to say it made sense for Foxtel, of which it owns a quarter, also to own the regional operator .

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission raised three "serious" issues with the bid last month and has delayed its final decision after seeking more information from the parties.

Mr Alexander declined to tell analysts what information had been sought, and the company did not take questions from journalists.

Consolidated Media reported a 74 per cent slump in net profit after tax for the past financial year to $102 million but said the preceding year was unusual as it included proceeds from the sale of its stake in Seek. On continuing operations, its profit constituted a 22 per cent rise, mainly thanks to increased revenue from Foxtel. While subscriber numbers are relatively flat, they are spending more. Mr Alexander said he did not expect that trend to continue indefinitely. But it was an indication that people "once they have Foxtel, want more of it".

Consolidated Media is half-owned by Mr Packer's Consolidated Press Holdings, with the Kerry Stokes-controlled Seven Group owning 24 per cent. The company's other key asset is a half share of Fox Sport's holding company, Premier Media. Its revenue rose 6 per cent, but earnings slipped 5 per cent through a 12 per cent increase in sports rights costs.


Join the Conversation...

There are comments posted so far.

If you'd like to join this conversation, please login or sign up here

Related Articles