November 10, 2017 / 8:15 AM / a year ago

CBS' buyout of Australia's Ten Network nears final hurdle

FILE PHOTO - The CBS "eye" and logo are seen outside the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th St. in Manhattan, New York, U.S., April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - CBS Corp’s buyout of embattled Australian broadcaster Ten Network Holdings won approval from an Australian court on Friday, leaving only sign-off from the nation’s securities regulator before the deal is done.

The bankrupt television station had been the subject of a bidding war between CBS and Twenty-First Century Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch, until Ten’s creditors voted in September to accept the CBS offer.

Although a ratings laggard, Ten’s national reach and strong brand recognition in the world’s 12th-largest economy made it an attractive buyout target and CBS swooped after Ten went into administration in July.

Murdoch and his co-bidder, billionaire Bruce Gordon, already lost a legal bid to derail the deal two months ago and did not contest Friday’s procedural application for court permission to transfer Ten’s shares to CBS control.

New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Ashley Black dismissed opposition from three small shareholders to give the deal the green light.

Barring an appeal from the shareholders, all stock in Ten will be transferred to CBS after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, Ten’s administrator KordaMentha said in a statement after the verdict.

The buyout won approval from Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board last month, and though it requires final clearance from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the regulator has already offered its in-principle support for the buyout.

A spokeswoman for Murdoch and Gordon declined to comment.

Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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