Broadcaster MediaWorks has a new majority-owner after vulture fund Oaktree Finance bought out two banks who had become reluctant shareholders.

According to MediaWorks' filings with the Companies Office, Oaktree vehicle Tokyo Opportunities B.V. has acquired the 21.9 per cent stake in the company held by Westpac New Zealand and the 14.6 per cent percent held by Royal Bank of Scotland.

The move leaves Oaktree holding a clear majority of 77.8 per cent of shares.

The banks had helped fund private equity firm Ironbridge's purchase of MediaWorks in 2007, but converted their debt into equity - along with taking a substantial haircut - when the company went into receivership in 2013.


Westpac and RBS were the last bankers of the company to exit, leaving Oaktree and fellow distressed asset funds TPG (15.7 per cent) and Bain Capital vehicle Minot Light APAC (6.5 per cent) sharing ownership.

Oaktree is headquartered in Los Angeles and was founded in 1995 by a group of junk bond and distressed debt investors.

The firm presently has over US$90 billion in funds under management.

Recent accounts posted for MediaWorks to the companies office shows newly appointed chief executive Mark Weldon and his board, including reality television producer Julie Christie and chairman Rod McGeoch, are up for a "share-based cash-settlement" bonus if the company can be floated or sold.

The changes in shareholding, and the appointment of Weldon, have been accompanied by a marked change in programming strategy at TV3, with reality television programming dominating prime-time, Paul Henry being promoted as a breakfast host and long-running current affairs show Campbell Live facing the chop.