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Ten Network Holdings Limited surges 7% on takeover speculation: Should you buy?

Investors can make a handy profit if companies they own are subject to a takeover or merger offer. Great recent examples include David Jones, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, and Transfield Services Limited (ASX: TSE).

Reviewing ‘strategic options’

Investors in struggling media group Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX: TEN) will no doubt be pleased with news yesterday that the company is reviewing strategic options with advisor Citi Group.

The announcement followed months of speculation that various rivals are watching Ten closely, with the idea of making a takeover attempt in the near future. Recent media speculation has named pay TV operator Foxtel, various private equity groups, Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ) and US cable operators like Discovery as potential suitors.

Terrible Investment

Since 2010, Ten’s share price has plunged from a high of $1.88 to yesterday’s close of 23 cents (including the 7% rise). It has returned a total of 5.25 cents to investors via dividends over the period.

The company has struggled to maintain relevance and competitiveness in the face of dwindling TV advertising revenue and an increase in online competition. Additionally, Ten has been criticized for failing to capitalise on bumper ratings over Christmas last year by delivering a poor lineup of shows in 2014. I struggle to see how this will change meaningfully in 2015.

Complications

To make matters worse, there are two factors that could slow or deter any takeover; the current Australian media laws and the three key shareholders that guarantee $200 million of loans to the company – Lachlan Murdoch, James Packer and Bruce Gordon. Without their support it would be difficult for any change of ownership to be successful.

Time to Buy?

I could never see myself taking a position in Ten, or any of the traditional media companies. The industry is changing so quickly that I believe investors are better suited to investing in companies that either distribute the information (i.e. companies like Facebook) or are placed to steal advertising revenue.

One such ASX-listed company is The Motley Fool's top pick for 2015. Be among the first to get the name and code right now. (Hint: It's a sexy ASX tech company!) Simply click here for your FREE copy... BEFORE the investing crowd gets wind of this!

Motley Fool contributor Andrew Mudie does not own shares in any companies mentioned. You can find Andrew on Twitter @andrewmudie

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