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Australia's Ten eyes TV3, TV4

By Nick Stride

Friday 4th August 2000

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CanWest Global Communications is considering selling its loss-making New Zealand television and radio assets to its Australian subsidiary, Ten Network.

Ten chief executive John McAlpine said this week he had spoken to CanWest about selling Ten the TV3 and TV4 television stations, More FM and a 70% stake in RadioWorks.

He said the assets were a natural fit with Ten and would be better managed from Australia than Canada.

A deal, which Australian analysts think likely, would be worth more than $380 million.

CanWest this week surprised the Canadian media industry by buying the Canadian newspaper assets of Conrad Black's Hollinger International for $C3.5 billion ($5.2 billion).

A Credit Suisse First Boston research report said a sale would realise a substantial sum to offset the $C2.5 billion of debt CanWest will take on board to pay for the Hollinger acquisition.

It would leave CanWest with a 57.5% interest - the level it owns of Ten - in the assets and would provide scope for content and management synergies.

Ten is one of CanWest's best earners but its New Zealand operations lost $1.06 million in the May third quarter.

Those figures did not include Radioworks, which made $750,000 in the last full year.

Both television stations reported losses while More FM posted a lower $C825,000 ($1.2 million) profit.

CanWest did not comment on the results and no New Zealand dollar figures were provided.

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