DataRoom AM: Switching off Ten

Foxtel has reportedly abandoned plans for a joint bid for Ten Network, while Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is in no rush to pursue any major mergers.

Rumours have been coming thick and fast in the media space of late, with the latest being reports of interest in Ten Network from pay TV heavyweight Foxtel. But while there may eventually be a play for Ten, Foxtel is not likely to be involved.

Elsewhere, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank appears unlikely to be at the centre of landscape-changing M&A anytime soon, Hoyts hits the pre-IPO roadshow trail and Infratil Energy offloads its local energy businesses to Snowy Hydro.

Local pay TV giant Foxtel reportedly mulled a joint bid for control of struggling free-to-air TV group Ten Network with private equity firm Providence Equity Partners. The proposed deal allegedly would have seen Foxtel claim a stake of 10 to 20 per cent, Ten’s high-profile shareholders (including James Packer and Gina Rinehart) retain 40 per cent and Providence claim the rest. The latest speculation, from The Australian Financial Review, suggests Foxtel has recently abandoned the idea on concerns around the price and structure of any proposal, but Providence may still be weighing a move.

The conjecture follows a Reuters report in June that claimed Providence had held preliminary talks with Ten about a buyout.

Meanwhile, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank managing director Mike Hirst has told Business Spectator it is highly unlikely the bank will pursue a merger of major significance until it completes its push to receive advanced accreditation, which may take about two more years.

“Strategically getting advanced accreditation is a bigger result for us than doing most other things, so if we were to take BoQ on now, for instance, that would put a hole in getting advanced accreditation. So from that point of view I’m not sure it would make a lot of sense time wise,” Mr Hirst said, adding there had been no talks with Suncorp or Bank of Queensland.

In infrastructure, a flood of regional airports could soon be on the market as local councils seek to capitalise on high demand for state-owned infrastructure assets. According to the AFR, there is progress on partial or full sales of the Sunshine Coast, Lismore, Ballina and Newcastle airports, while stakes in the Kalgoorlie, Port Hedland and Karratha airports could also be put up for grabs.

In the IPO market, Hoyts Group has started an Asian roadshow to drum up support for a possible float later this year, according to the AFR. The cinema group, owned by Pacific Equity Partners, could be valued at $900m through an IPO.

Elsewhere, NZ-based Infratil Energy has offloaded its local assets for $605m to Snowy Hydro. The deal, broadly in line with market expectations, will see Snowy claim control of Lumo Energy and Direct Connect Australia at the end of September

Finally, the AFR reports troubled financial services firm van Eyk is likely to call in the receivers sometime this week, while Coates Hire owners Seven Group and The Carlyle Group could chase an IPO late next year, once $1.9 billion of debt is refinanced.