Nine Entertainment Co’s hedge fund owners and board are backing chief executive David Gyngell's push to match rival Ten Network Holdings' surprise $550 million bid to wrest cricket broadcasting rights from Nine, according to The Australian Financial Review.
Nine has held the rights to broadcast international cricket for some 32 years and a new deal would add another five years.
After meeting on Sunday, Nine’s board also approved the acquisition of WIN Corp’s Adelaide station with an option to buy its Perth station, the newspaper said.
But Mr Gyngell and his executives are understood to be in eleventh-hour negotiations with Win Corp owner Bruce Gordon to finalise the deal. The acquisitions would help fund the expensive Cricket Australia deal.
When Ten came forward with its unanticipated and lucrative offer speculation grew that Nine, whose hedge fund owners Apollo Management and Oaktree Capital have been unwilling to see Nine take on more debt, would deem the offer too expensive to match.
Nine is also trying to secure smaller side deals to help pay for the cricket bid, The AFR said.