Financier exits Murdoch deal

SPO, the US investment vehicle partly financing Lachlan Murdoch’s takeover of Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH), has pulled out of the deal, putting it in doubt.

Australia’s CMH, which is Jamie Packer-backed but publicly listed and was spun out of the old Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL), has investments including Foxtel, Fox Sports and Nine Network. The A$3.3 billion deal by Murdoch’s Illyria, would take CMH into private hands.

Murdoch must now find another major financier for the deal, or risk it not happening. SPO pulled out as the strengthened Australian dollar would see the deal costing more in US dollar terms.

A statement from CMH said: “CMH understands SPO’s withdrawal is primarily due to changes in investment conditions specific to SPO and not the Consortium’s assessment of the value and prospects of CMH’s investments.”

A letter from Illyria to CMH said: “Illyria’s due diligence has been progressing well. Illyria remains enthusiastic about the Indicative Proposal. Illyria is in discussions to replace the SPO equity commitment from within its existing investor group and third parties. Illyria has received strong preliminary indications of willingness to replace SPO’s funding commitment to the Illyria joint venture entity.”