Peter Coleman: Senate vote one small step for Murdochkind

Media law reform may have gone through the Australian Senate, but much remains to be settled, with Murdoch contingent apparently increasingly confident of their ability to prise control of Ten.

As expected, Bruce Gordon and Lachlan Murdoch are back with a revised bid, details of which are in The Australian despite the News Corp daily's pretence of distance from the detail.

Don't you love that "sources close to the deal" expression.

And as always, it's all about the way you tell the story. The Oz's Darren Davidson - 'Lurch' to his friends at Fairfax, apparently - thinks Ten would be infinitely better effectively controlled by one group of Americans than by another.

It's really about Lachlan and his dad and their mass of News Corp and 21st Century Fox businesses, against CBS and their already established partnerships with Ten.

The Murdochs have already checked out the ACCC, and this week's focus has been on getting Korda Mentha's deal with CBS ruled out of order, with a court ruling due on Monday.

All predictable stuff as Nick Xenothon comes on board. Is the appearance of editorial content sympathetic to NXT and Turnbull - and new-best-friend Pauline Hanson - a coincidence?

Also likely is that (Lachlan) Murdoch, Gordon and fellow investor James Packer - who precipated the timing receivership - and Fox stand to lose less of their moolah if they can get the shock CBS deal knocked back.

For Davidson, it's "the latest twist to a dramatic battle"; most of the rest of us could see it all coming... even from Chennai in India, where I've spent the past week frustrating far from the action.

A meeting of Ten's creditors on Tuesday - if it gets that far without being further rescheduled - will notionally consider the CBS offer, and is likely to look at the existence of others (one actually). And if KordaMentha were to consider a Gordon/Murdoch offer they've allowed to evolve with the passage of time and legislation, perhaps they would allow CBS the opportunity to catch up.

And allow Gordon and Murdoch time for the media reform law to actually become law: it has still to pass through the House of Reps next month.

And so on. This show could run, if it's allowed to do so.

But then there are other factors, such as winning the next election, to consider... and despite what Xenophon thinks, that's actually not a lot about giving scholarships to journos in the bush who work for a handful of independents (can I put my hand up?) but mostly for Fairfax and, oh yes, News.

Watch this space.

Peter Coleman

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