SYDNEY, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Australia's Publishing&Broadcasting Ltd said on Wednesday it will push ahead with plans to split its media and gaming assets into separate companies, despite failing to obtain some tax relief.
PBL, controlled by Australia's richest man, James Packer, said it would hold shareholder meetings in November to vote on the demerger, after receiving clearance from an Australian court.
PBL's plan to separate the remains of its fading media empire and lucrative gaming assets hit a hurdle on Monday when the company said it was reassessing the plan in light of new tax changes.
While it emerged the new rules would not affect the PBL demerger, the company said later it had been advised by the Australian Tax Office it would would not receive demerger tax relief in any case.
However, PBL said it believed the tax set-back, that followed ongoing talks with tax authorities, would not be material for the company, and it would proceed with the split proposal.
PBL shares, which fell 5 percent on the news on Monday, initially rose more than 2 percent Wednesday but later closed 0.5 percent lower at A$20.14.
PBL said in May it planned to split its media and gaming interests into two listed companies, and return A$2 billion ($1.8 billion) in cash to shareholders.
Under the plan, PBL will house its casino and international gaming assets in a company called Crown.
A separate company called Consolidated Media Holdings (CMH) will include PBL's stake in pay-TV business Foxtel and a 25 percent stake in PBL Media which owns an Australian TV network and magazines.
''As a stand alone entity, Crown's experienced management team will focus on identifying key opportunities both locally and offshore that will be able to further focus its investments on high growth new media opportunities,'' Packer said in a statement.
''CMH's management will be able to further focus its investments on high growth new media opportunities.''.
The remaining 75 percent of PBL Media is held by private equity firm CVC [CVC.UL].
Shareholders will vote on the proposal on Nov. 23.
REUTERS SI DS1645