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Major US television network in talks with Ten

The Age logo The Age 20/05/2014 Dominic White
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At least one of the three major US over-the-air television networks is believed to be exploring potential strategic options with Ten Network Holdings, in a further sign that the Australian free-to-air broadcaster's high-profile shareholders are open to takeover offers.

Ten's American program supplier, CBS, is one of the three main traditional US broadcasters, along with ABC and NBC. It is not known how advanced the talks are.

It follows news that the UK's ITV held talks with Ten about taking a strategic stake in the struggling broadcaster.

Sources described those discussions as "preliminary" and said they had "not gone anywhere" but "there was no doubt there are parties kicking the tyres" ahead of potential changes to media regulation that would make it easier for Australian commercial broadcasters to merge with their regional counterparts.

Ten's ratings have been sliding and its revenue share from advertising agencies has tumbled.

Ten's executive director of news and current affairs, Peter Meakin, is poised to axe its lowly rating breakfast show Wake Up to cut costs.

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