Ronald Lauder. Pulling the plug
Photo: AP

Lauder to cut off Channel 10 funding

Knowledgeable source says Israeli TV channel seeking new investors as its only source of funding can no longer shoulder burden alone

Ronald Lauder, one of the owners of Israel's Channel 10 TV, is expected to pull the plug on Channel 10's funding come October 15, Calcalist has learned.


Lauder, who holds a 35% stake in the broadcasting channel, is currently the its sole provider. Other stakeholders are Yossi Meiman (51%), who also holds a stake in EMG through Ampal, which was hit by the Egyptian gas line explosion, and Arnon Milchan (24%), who has not been pouring funds into the channel for several months now.


Since the beginning of 2011, Lauder has poured some NIS 60 million (about $16 million) into Channel 10 and is scheduled to pour further funds into the channel in 10 days' time. For the time being, however, he is planning to cut off funding.


Owner capital injections are what ensure the ongoing operations of the channel, which is regarded the financially weakest of Israel's three commercial television concessioners, especially on the backdrop of the current advertising market crisis and the channels low ratings which led it to losses in the millions of shekels in 2011.


From the channel's inception approximately a decade ago its owners, mainly Meiman, have invested approximately NIS 1.3 billion ($350 million) in its activity.


A knowledgeable source said that Lauder can no longer shoulder the channel's financial burden by himself and that the channel is seeking additional investors.


"Money needs to be poured into the channel, but it's not clear who will pick up the gauntlet – the current owners or new owners. Right now, things are pretty unclear."


About a month ago, Channel 10 news director Reudor Benziman handed in his resignation after refusing to approve the channel's apology to American business mogul Sheldon Adelson following a profile story on Adelson.


The channel would have faced a mega lawsuit had it not broadcast an apology which could have been financially detrimental to the channel.


Sources on the market claim that Lauder disapproved of the manner in which the news channel personnel handled the affair by condemning the apology that, they claim, they were forced to issue against their will and the intervention of the channel's shareholders in the affair. However, a source close to the shareholders claims they had nothing to do with the affair.


In 2009, the channel incurred a NIS 99 million ($26.5 million) loss, which it was able to slash to some NIS 40 million ($10.5 million) in 2010.


Last year, the channel attempted to raise funds from the Origo debt recycling fund, but came up empty handed and was left with no choice but to repay the NIS 30 million ($8 million) loan it got from the fund after receiving an extension until November.


Click here to read this report in Hebrew



פרסום ראשון: 10.07.11, 07:16
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