Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) was one of Australia's largest companies, with interests primarily in media and gaming. The company demerged in late 2007, spinning out its gaming interests into Crown Limited. PBL, now a stub, renamed itself to Consolidated Media Holdings.
PBL originated with Australian Consolidated Press (ACP), established by media magnate Frank Packer, who inherited the media interests of his father Robert Packer, who died in 1934. In 1936, Packer merged with E.G. Theodore's Sydney Newspapers and Associated Newspapers to form Australian Consolidated Press. Frank Packer was chairman of ACP from 1936 until his death in 1974, when control of the company passed to his younger son Kerry Packer.
ACP was granted a broadcasting license in Sydney when television began in Australia in the 1950s. Its television station, TCN-9 in Sydney was the first station in Australia to go to air, launched 1956, by an announcement from Bruce Gyngell "Good evening, and welcome to television".
In 1987, Kerry Packer sold the Nine Network to Alan Bond, who then expanded the network to include QTQ-9 Brisbane and STW-9 Perth. Packer later bought the network back for half of what he sold it for in 1990.
Publishing and Broadcasting Limited was formed in 1994, from the merger of The Nine Network Australia and Australian Consolidated Press.
In the late 1990s PBL lost millions on a venture called Nine India. Its most tangible form was a branded block on two of the channels operated by Doordarshan. It planned to become a major player in Indian television, but by early in the next decade, the concept was dropped.
In 2002, PBL entered a deal with Prime Television, giving it an effective 50% stake in Prime NZ.
In 2004, PBL purchased the Burswood Casino in Perth, and a 50% stake in Hoyts Cinemas, along with West Australian Newspapers. Hoyts was previously owned by the Packer private company; Conslidated Press Holdings Ltd. It also sold Papua New Guinea's only television network, EM-TV to Fiji Television.
On October 18 2006, James Packer announced the sell-off of 50% of PBL's media interests for A$4.5 billion to focus on its gambling business. The sell-off includes Nine Network and its 50 per cent interest in NineMSN.
PBL is currently involved in two casino projects in Macau: the $260 million Crown Macau, scheduled for completion in 2006-07, and the $1.4 billion City of Dreams. The projects are joint ventures with Melco, a Macau company. In March 2006, PBL announced that it had spent US$900 million (A$1.2 billion) to purchase a casino sub-concession from Wynn Resorts that would give the Melco-PBL joint venture the right to conduct casino operations. PBL's commitment to these ventures is the biggest investment by an Australian company in the PRC to date .
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