Seven Group Holdings (SGH), which part-owns Australia’s Seven Network, has reported a dip in its media business and is still undecided over its stake in Foxtel shareholder Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH).
SGH, which owns a 33.2% stake in Seven operator Seven West Media (SWM), made a net profit of A$165.9m for the 12 months to June 30, 2012. This was A$95.5m more than for the previous financial year. Revenue was also up 41% year-on-year to A$4.5bn.
However, its media division posted earnings of A$116.1m, which was down 9% year-on-year. Profit was also impacted by a A$483.5m write-down relating to its investment in SWM and an “ongoing softness” in the Australian media sector.
Asked for an update on News Corp’s A$1.97bn deal to buy Foxtel part-owner CMH, SGH CEO Peter Gammell said the company had not yet made a decision and was investigating all the alternatives, which could include launching its own takeover offer.
“That doesn’t mean to say that we are going to buy it, it just means we want to know whether we can buy it then we’ll make that decision as well,” he said.
SGH owns 25% of CMH, which in turn has a 25% stake in pay-TV platform Foxtel. News Corp would boost its stake in Foxtel to 50% if it were successful with the offer, which has the backing of CMH’s largest shareholder James Packer.
SGH is seeking regulatory advice before proceeding with its next move, Gammell added.
In further news, SGH has appointed Ryan Stokes as chief operating officer. Stokes is the son of SGH majority owner Kerry Stokes and was already on the company’s board as an executive director.
Stokes Jr also sits on the boards of online joint venture Yahoo!7, machinery firm WesTrac, SWM and CMH.