Ten could be taken private; Connection repairs under threat amid Telstra job cuts

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A man and power lines are reflected in a Telstra poster adorning a public telephone in Sydney, Australia Reuters/David Gray

Network Ten, which enters voluntary administration, is likely to be taken private. Key shareholders Bruce Gordon and Lachlan Murdoch have reportedly partnered to work on a plan to save the Australian commercial broadcasting network. Meanwhile, Telstra’s reported plan to slash 1,400 jobs would likely mean it would take longer to have customers’ internet connection or landline repaired.

Murdoch and Gordon hold 7.7 percent and 15 percent of Ten, respectively. The news about their team-up was first reported by The Australian.

Experts anticipate Aussie billionaires and cashed-up private equity firms as the likely buyers of the network. Media analyst Steve Allen told The Daily Telegraph that the business’ shares are worth about $60 million.

The network recently approached the pair and gaming mogul James Packer to back up a $250 million debt refinancing. When they have decided against guaranteeing the loan, Ten declared on Wednesday that it entered voluntary administration.

Ten admitted at its recent half-year results that it may not be able to carry on after posting a $232.2 million loss. The network, despite having a number of hit shows, struggled to obtained advertising revenue. The television industry faces pressure from streaming services such as Netflix, Stan and Amazon Prime as well as from online advertising sites like Facebook and Google.

Despite the situation, viewers of “MasterChef,” “The Bachelor,” and “The Project” were assured that the network going into voluntary administration would not impact programming. The network is the third ranked free-to-air TV station.

Support and connection repairs under threat

Support and connection repairs are under threat as Australia’s biggest telecommunications provider revealed it would slash jobs, a move that is expected to affect four percent of Telstra’s workforce. It is likely that finding technical support and getting customers’ phone lines repaired will be harder after the cuts.

The $1 billion cost-cutting exercise is expected to reduce construction and maintenance field services as well. These include the division tasked with repairing copper phone lines and staff in Telstra retail stores who provide customer service.

In a statement, Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn explained they were urgently required to “become a leaner organisation.” He said they needed to respond to competitive pressures and the “accelerated rollout” of the NBN.

“We recognise that if these changes proceed it will mean some valued colleagues will be leaving the business,” the statement reads. John Ellery, communications Workers Union Victoria secretary, believes the decision could strip essential technical knowledge from the company.

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