There have been conflicting reports over whether either CBS or 20th Century FOX dragged their feet in meetings with TEN as it sought to renegotiate output deals prior to entering administration this week.
The Australian Financial Review reported TEN management had renegotiated its contract with CBS, but was not formally signed.
Reports suggest it had failed to do so with 21st Century FOX, of which Lachlan Murdoch is executive chairman.
“The CBS deal was done,” a person involved said. “FOX was dragging its feet all the way.” One article suggested a FOX US contact was unreachable in the crucial hours leading up to administration.
But other sources do not agree with that account, with suggestions deals with TEN were agreed in principle.
Whilst CBS regard TEN as a loyal customer and were willing to cut the network a break to keep it afloat, FOX agreed to a replacement deal for TEN one hour after the company was put into administration.
CBS owns a third of ELEVEN, with the other two-thirds owned by TEN. CBS is preparing to appoint an adviser for negotiations to protect its joint venture.
The joint venture has not issued a dividend to either TEN or CBS since the 2015-16 financial year, when it paid $5.1m to TEN and $2.5m to CBS.
TEN’s US output deals are valued at around $150m.
Media reports speculate that either Lachlan Murdoch, Bruce Gordon, News Corp or Foxtel will wind up owning the network.