Bruce Gordon’s move on Nine shares ahead of likely media reform under Prime Minister Turnbull is a strategic shake up.
Nine had previously been reported as seeking greater affiliate fees for its broadcasting deal with the regional network. The current deal expires in December.
But Bermuda-based Gordon is said to be already preparing to use his shareholding as leverage to gain a better deal for WIN.
After buying shares from US hedge fund Apollo, Gordon has 14.95% of Nine, on top of his 14.95% of TEN.
According to The Australian, as Nine’s largest shareholder Gordon now has a wide range of options including a takeover of Nine — if the federal government abolishes the reach rule.
Under current regulations, he is prevented from taking more than a 15 per cent slice of a rival media company. But Nine’s directors will resist any move to gain a seat on the Board.
The Australian Financial Review reports Apollo has not asked to step down from Nine’s board – Kevin Crowe, a principal at hedge fund, has been on the free-to-air broadcaster’s board since February 2013.
Meanwhile, the ACCC is due on Thursday to hand down a ruling on whether to allow Foxtel to purchase 14.9 per cent of Ten Network Holdings, a deal which would reduce Gordon’s influence at the network.
However, it is understood that he intends to maintain his stake in the network which, like Nine, he believes is undervalued.