TV pioneer Bruce Gordon was behind a raid on Nine Entertainment which grabbed 3.4% for about $50 million.
According to documents lodged with the ASX today, the owner of the regional TV network WIN Corp and the largest shareholder in Nine with 14.99%, the buying was done last Thursday by Deutsche Bank.
Lawyers Atanaskovic Hartnell, acting for Gordon, his private company Birketu Pty Ltd and WIN Corp, detailed the transaction in a substantial holder notice to the market.
At the moment, Deutsche Bank has the shares after Gordon lent the investment bank the cash to buy them. Gordon will get any benefit from the sale price if and when those shares are sold.
Commentators say the move puts Gordon in a position to make a full takeover if the government is successful in changing laws to get rid of the current cross media ownership rules.
This would allow Gordon to increase his holding above the current 15% limit and move to take control.
Gordon, who in 1979 gained control of Television Wollongong Transmission, which later became WIN, also has a 14.95% stake in Network Ten.
Communications minister Mitch Fifield has announced what he calls the most significant media reform in Australian media in a generation.
This involves getting rid of rules preventing mergers between regional television networks and metropolitan affiliates, and the two-out-of-three regulation stopping anyone from owning a newspaper, radio station and a television network in the same major market.
A wave of mergers and takeovers in the media is expected when new rules take effect.
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