Australian regulator delays decision on Seven bid for Consolidated
SYDNEY, Sept 13
SYDNEY, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Australia's competition regulator has delayed a decision on whether it would allow a bid for Consolidated Media Holdings by Seven Group Holdings , saying it had concerns about the potential deal and wants more input.
Consolidated Media, which owns lucrative pay-TV assets, has backed a $2 billion offer from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in the absence of a higher offer. News Corp's bid has already won the blessing of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The deal would double the stake of News Corp's Australian unit in dominant pay-TV operator Foxtel to 50 percent and give it 100 percent of content provider Fox Sports, boosting its pay-TV exposure at the same time as it cuts back print operations.
Seven, headed by rival media mogul Kerry Stokes, owns almost a quarter of Consolidated Media and had asked the ACCC to look into whether it would allow Seven to make a bid for the rest of the company.
"The ACCC's concerns arise in the free-to-air television market given the influence Channel Seven may be able to exert over Fox Sports Australia (which is 50 percent owned by Consolidated Media Holdings) in joint bids and other commercial arrangements in relation to sports rights," the ACCC said.
The regulator said it was seeking further submissions and would delay a decision until October 11.
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