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NZ's MediaWorks to sell free-to-air TV business to Discovery

Sept 7 (Reuters) - New Zealand’s largest independent broadcaster, MediaWorks, said on Monday it would sell its free-to-air TV business to U.S. media company Discovery Inc , months after putting the struggling division up for sale.

Mediaworks, owned by U.S. asset management firm Oaktree Capital, had put the business on the auction block in October last year as it took a hit from state broadcaster Television New Zealand’s dominance in the industry and growing pressure from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The sale unveiled on Monday includes entertainment channels Three and Bravo, streaming service ThreeNow, and multi-platform news service Newshub, MediaWorks said, without disclosing the financial details of the deal. (bit.ly/2F7JAnw)

Discovery currently operates a portfolio of six pay-TV channels in New Zealand, including the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, and Food Network, as well as two free-to-air channels.

MediaWorks said Glen Kyne had been appointed as general manager of TV and will report to Simon Robinson, president of Discovery’s APAC (Asia-Pacific) division, who will head Discovery’s Australia and New Zealand operations after the deal.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, Mediaworks said. (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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