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Foxtel Signs A$1.2 Billion Facility for Austar Acquisition

Foxtel, Australia’s largest pay-TV operator, received a A$1.2 billion ($1.2 billion) loan to help acquire Austar United Communications Ltd., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd. and Westpac Banking Corp. provided the facility in equal amounts.

Foxtel won court approval to buy billionaire John Malone’s Austar earlier this month for A$1.9 billion in cash to expand in the nation’s rural areas. The purchase helps Foxtel, which focuses on metropolitan areas, access Austar’s viewers in smaller, regional cities such as Ballarat and Albury and increase its audience by about 46 percent.

The self-arranged loan is expected to close no later than June 30, according to the data. One revolving credit portion of A$400 million matures in three years, a second in four years and a third in 2017, the data show. The loan isn’t expected to be marketed to other banks in syndication.

Foxtel is half owned by Telstra Corp., Australia’s largest phone carrier, with 25 percent stakes held by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and James Packer’s Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd. Austar is controlled by Malone’s Liberty Global Inc., which owns a 54 percent stake.

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