Billionaire media mogul Bruce Gordon has lost a court bid aimed at thwarting the sale of Network Ten to America’s CBS after the NSW Supreme Court threw out his case against administrators of the free-to-air broadcaster.
Mr Gordon, through his companies WIN Corporation and Birketu, took urgent legal action on September 6 to prevent Ten’s administrator, KordaMentha, from holding a second creditors’ meeting last week.
The meeting was delayed until tomorrow.
The administrator backs the sale of Ten to CBS.
Ten’s regional affiliate WIN and Birketu had also asked the court to make a range of orders and declarations, including that KordaMentha’s second report to creditors failed to include adequate information about the bid for Ten made by Birketu and Lachlan Murdoch’s Illyria Nominees.
The companies also sought orders that would either reduce or eliminate entirely CBS’ voting rights on the takeover proposal.
CBS is Network Ten’s largest creditor, with Ten holding a $172 million debt to the US group.
On Monday, NSW Supreme Court Justice Ashley Black said he was “not satisfied” that lawyers for Mr Gordon’s companies had established any deficiencies in the creditors’ report that would require orders to be made.
He was also not persuaded that CBS should have its voting rights reduced or removed.
Since the case was heard urgently last week, Birketu and Illyria have made a second bid for Ten.
Justice Black said he had “not had regard to commercial developments which may have occurred after the hearing was completed and judgment reserved” because the parties did not seek to have a further hearing.
“While that approach may seem artificial, it reflects the fundamental proposition that a court must reach its decision on the evidence led by the parties at the hearing before it,” he said.
Justice Black said the question for the court was “not, and should not be, which of any competing commercial proposals put by interested parties would be most advantageous to the creditors of the Ten Group companies” including employees and shareholders.
“That is a matter properly left for their decision,” he said.
More to come.
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