Australian billionaire and media mogul Kerry Stokes is preparing to thwart Rupert Murdoch's plan of gaining full control of Consolidated Media Holdings (ConsMedia) by planning to hike his stake in the company that owns stakes in Foxtel and Fox Sports.
Stokes' Seven Group, which is the second-largest shareholder in ConsMedia with a 24-per cent stake, after billionaire James Packer's 50 per cent, yesterday informed the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), that it is planning to hike its stake or make a counter-bid for the whole of ConsMedia.
The ACCC informed the stock exchange that Seven was "actively considering" increasing its stake in Consmedia and it has asked the regulator to "review a proposal for an acquisition of all of the shares in CMH (ConsMedia) that it does not already own".
The ACCC is inviting comments to be submitted to the competition regulator by 13 July.
Murdoch's News Corp's, through its Australian unit News Ltd, this week offer to buy ConsMedia for A$2 billion ($2 billion) in cash, with Packer backing the A$3.50 a share offer. (See: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp launches $2 bn bid for Australia's ConsMedia)
ConsMedia holds stakes in pay-TV network Foxtel and Fox Sports. Telstra Corp holds 50 per cent in Foxtel, while News Corp and ConsMedia hold 25 per cent each, and Fox Sports is a 50:50 partnership between News Corp and ConsMedia.