Southern Cross Media renews Network 10 affiliation agreement amid takeover battle

Southern Cross Media renews Network 10 affiliation agreement amid takeover battle

Popular Network 10 program Have You Been Paying Attention? is set to stay on the Southern Cross regional network. Photo via Facebook.

Takeover target Southern Cross Media Group (ASX: SXL) has secured a new agreement to broadcast Network 10 television channels in regional Queensland, southern NSW and Victoria as the ownership tussle for the group remains up in the air.

Southern Cross says the conditional affiliation agreement for its regional television stations covers Network 10’s broadcast channels 10, 10 Bold, 10 Peach and Nickelodeon with final approval for the agreement now awaiting the nod from senior management at Paramount Global, Network 10’s parent company.

The extended agreement, which originally began on 1 July 2021, will be for an indefinite period which will see Southern Cross continue to broadcast popular programs such as MasterChef Australia, Have You Been Paying Attention?, I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! and The Masked Singer Australia, as well as key sports events such as the Australian Formula One Grand Prix and live NBL and A-League games.

“We are delighted that this proposed new affiliation agreement with Network 10 will realise improved outcomes for both parties and an aligned advertising solution for regional advertisers,” says John Kelly, the CEO of Southern Cross Media.

“We are confident in Network 10’s 2024 content schedule and we look forward to promoting 10’s suite of premium programming in regional Australia to deliver outstanding results for advertisers and reliable returns for SCA’s shareholders.”

The company says extension of the affiliation agreement will lead to a growing collaboration between the Network 10 and Southern Cross Media national sales teams allowing them to ‘optimise advertising and sponsorship opportunities’ for national advertisers and agencies.

“Network 10 looks forward to continuing our affiliate relationship with SCA across critical regional markets ensuring that our extraordinary line up of entertainment, news and sport continues to reach households across Australia whilst creating unique and exciting opportunities for our advertising clients," says Jarrod Villani, Paramount Australia and New Zealand’s executive vice president.

The renewed agreement comes amid a complex takeover battle for Southern Cross Media with two offers on the table – a $224 million non-binding offer from KIIS FM owner ARN Media (ASX: A1N) backed by Anchorage Capital Partners and a separate merger proposal from Antony Catalano and Alex Waislitz's Australian Community Media (ACM).

Southern Cross Media earlier this week announced that ARN Media reconfirmed its indicative proposal was still on track with the company allowing continued due diligence for the consortium in the hope of receiving a definitive proposal for its board to assess.

The confirmation follows a directive from the Takeovers Panel for ARN Media to sell around $16 million worth of shares in Southern Cross Media following a complaint by Catalano-affiliated investment group Keybridge Capital (ASX: KBC).

The affiliation agreement with Network 10 also highlights Seven West Media’s interest in the battle for control of Southern Cross Media after the Kerry Stokes-controlled company upped its stake in ARN Media to 19.9 per cent stake early last month.

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