The Southern Star Group, one of Australia's biggest television production and distribution companies, is the subject of a takeover bid from Southern Cross Broadcasting, which operates television stations in most regional areas of Australia, as well as in Adelaide and the national capital of Canberra.
Southern Star's directors, who control more than 50% of the issued capital of the company, unanimously support the offer, will recommend that other shareholders also accept it, and intend to announce a special dividend of US$7.4m (A$10m) payable to shareholders if the offer is successful.
Executive chair Neil Balnaves will join the board of Southern Cross Broadcasting and continue to run the business with the same management team if the proposal is accepted. He says Southern Star is currently experiencing its most rapid growth period in the company's 30-year history and across all the genres of production, it will deliver over 500 hours of programming this financial year.
Internationally, the company's distribution arm is also experiencing strong sales due to new programming acquisitions such as The Block and catalogue stalwarts such as Home And Away and Blue Heelers. Southern Star's library contains over 14,000 hours of English language programming. This includes some features but there is no longer a separate feature film distribution division