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Ten shares up after Warburton sacking

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SYDNEY, Feb 25 AAP

February 25 2013, 10:40AM

Ten Network Holdings shares are up in early trade as market players express hope that new management may improve the struggling free-to-air broadcaster's performance.

At 1033 AEDT, Ten was up 2.75 cents, or 9.32 per cent, at 32.25 cents.

In percentage terms, Ten was the second-best performing stock on the S&P/ASX200, according to IRESS data.

"Where you have a company performing poorly, and in particular where that performance involves a poor competitive performance - not doing well against its peer group - in those circumstances, the market often will attribute that to management problems," CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said on Monday.

"News of a change in management carries the potential for an improvement in performance."

Ten has fallen about 63 per cent in the past 12 months.

On Friday night, Ten announced in a statement it had "given notice of termination" to Mr Warburton and appointed senior News Corporation executive Hamish McLennan as new chief executive.

Mr McLennan, who will take up the job on March 18, is executive vice president in News Corp's office of the chairman. He is also chairman of Australian-listed online real estate classifieds company REA Group.

Ten chairman Lachlan Murdoch is the son of News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch.

In the interim, Russell Howcroft will act as chief executive.

Ten's ratings struggle began well before Mr Warburton started as chief executive on January 1, 2012, after being poached from the Seven Network where he was chief sales and digital officer.

The broadcaster suffered from a series of poorly-performing shows such as The Shire, Being Lara Bingle, I Will Survive and Everybody Dance Now, which was hosted by Mr Murdoch's wife Sarah Murdoch.

In October 2012, Ten said it would cut 100 newsroom jobs in a bid to cut costs.

The company also undertook two capital raisings in calendar 2012 in a bid to reduce debt and strengthen its balance sheet.