Telstra could float Foxtel as the cable TV CEO departs

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Telstra is reported to be looking at floating its half share in cable TV operator Foxtel.

The Sydney Morning Herald said Australia’s biggest telco is considering a $4.5 billion initial public offering.

Telstra had no comment, only to say: “Foxtel remains strategically important to Telstra.”

At the same time, Foxtel’s CEO Richard Freudenstein has been replaced by News Corp Australia chief executive Peter Tonagh, a former chief operating officer and CFO of the cable TV company.

“Foxtel is an incredible business with an exciting future and I look forward to building on Richard’s contribution to deliver the next stage of Foxtel’s growth,” Tonagh says.

Freudenstein, who is standing down after four and a half years to “pursue other interests”, will leave Foxtel at the end of April but will remain in his long-standing position as a News Corp nominee on the board of REA Group Limited.

Tonagh was appointed News Corp Australia CEO in June last year, reporting to former APN News & Media head Michael Miller who was made executive chairman.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn says it’s important Foxtel maintains its momentum.

“Peter is well positioned to lead Foxtel through the next phase of its evolution and build on Richard’s achievements,” says Penn.

Foxtel’s market is under attack from cheaper online streaming media groups including the giant US player Netflix which has quickly grabbed a big market share in Australia.

Other players in the streaming sector include Stan, a Nine and Fairfax Media joint venture, and local ASX-listed company Quickflix.

There’s more here.

(Disclosure: Allure Media, the publisher of Business Insider, is 100% owned by Fairax Media.)

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