Ten Network in voluntary administration; billionaires facing huge losses

The Ten Network will go into voluntary administration after key shareholders pulled their backing for a new $250 million loan over the weekend. The decision was confirmed in a statement published on the ASX on Wednesday.

The network said that the decision by high-profile backers, Lachlan Murdoch and TV network owner Bruce Gordon, not to guarantee a new loan — which was to replace the current $200 million loan, due in December — “left the Directors with no choice but to appoint Administrators”.

The free-to-air broadcaster has appointed KordaMentha as voluntary administrators of the company and its subsidiaries.

The administrators will now commence a financial and operational assessment of the business, working closely with management, employees, suppliers and content partners.

The administrators intend to continue operating the broadcaster “on a business as usual basis” as much as possible while conducting the review, Network Ten said.

“The Directors of Ten regret very much that these circumstances have come to pass,” the directors said in Wednesday’s statement.

“They wish to take this opportunity to thank all Ten employees and contractors for their commitment and enthusiasm for Ten’s programs and business.

“They wish Ten and its management Ten all success in the future as the Administrators look to the potential sale or recapitalisation of the business.”

Ten has struggled to recover from its ratings slump after a series of prime time flops amid stiff competition from rival networks Seven and Nine.

Despite prime time shows such as ‘I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!’ and ‘Masterchef’ amassing over 1 million viewers some nights, the network has failed to gain much ground in the ratings. In March the network was pipped for third place in the ratings by public broadcaster the ABC.

The company admitted in April it may not be able to continue after it posted a $232.2 million loss at its half-year report.

The network’s shares dropped by almost 15 percent to 38 cents following the announcement.

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