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Packer TVN Move To Kneecap Tabcorp

Monday, 27th March 2006

Under the headlines "Packer Is Playing For High Stakes" & "TVN Investment Would Put PBL On Collision Course With Tabcorp" the on-going brawl over Australia's racing TV rights escalated dramatically as The Sydney Morning Herald declared: "James Packer is willing to invest more than $40 million into racing's bitter broadcasting rights war in a bid to ultimately buy the lucrative wagering licences held by Tabcorp." The newspaper revealed "Packer's Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd is ready to pump cash into the financially troubled ThoroughVisioN, which is wagering an ugly fight with Sky Channel & its parent Tabcorp" & noted Packer "is seeking up to 50% of TVN (which is owned by The Australian Jockey Club & Sydney Turf Club along with counterparts in Victoria)". Ownership of the stake would allow Packer "to play hardball with Tabcorp & maybe use it as a lever to get at the company's racing & sports betting licences." The paper quoted "an insider with knowledge of recent proceedings" as summing up: "Make no mistake: this is not about just owning another television station. This is about long-term goals in the wagering & gaming market. It is about creating a living hell for Tabcorp, which is a casino opponent of PBL's." The paper explained that, if Packer gained control of TVN, he could "threaten to switch off horse-racing vision, which would badly affect Tabcorp's turnover & force it to the negotiating table"; the insider commented: "It is what TVN should have done last spring. Packer wants to bring Tabcorp to its knees!"

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