24/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 14:00

Gina Rinehart threatens to sell Fairfax stake

Category: Business

Published: 26th Jun 2012 03:21:05

Gina Rinehart has threatened to sell her stake in Fairfax Media if she is not offered seats on the firm's board "without unsuitable conditions".

The mining magnate recently increased her stake to 18.67% in Fairfax and has reportedly asked for three board seats and more editorial control.

However, there are concerns that such a move may hurt Farifax's independence.

Ms Rinehart, who is Australia's richest woman, is opposed to the government's mining and carbon tax plans.

"Unless director positions are offered without unsuitable condition, Mrs Rinehart is unable to assist Fairfax at this time," her firm Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (HPPL) said in a statement.

"HPPL may hence sell its interest, and may consider repurchasing at some other time."

Fairfax is one Australia's biggest media companies and two of its papers, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, are key players in the country's newspaper market.

According to a report carried by The Age last week, Ms Rinehart has sought to have a say in the appointment of editors of the firm's newspapers.

That had led to concerns that she may interfere in the company's editorial decisions.

Australia's Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, warned that such a move may lead to "crisis of confidence among the readership".

He said that if readers lost faith in the papers' editorial independence, they may stop reading them, and that would hurt their circulation and eventually the firm's profits and share price.

The firm's share price has already plummeted more than 85% in the past five years.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Wayne Swan warned that editorial interference by Ms Rinehart would have "very big implications for our democracy".

Ms Rinehart's threat to walk away from Fairfax comes just as she has bought more shares in Ten Network, one of Australia's five main free-to-air television stations.

According to a statement from the Australian Securities Exchange, the mining magnate purchased a further 39 million shares for some A$20m ($20m; £13m) after the Ten Network issued new shares to its investors in June.

Ms Rinehart now owns 143.7 million shares in the firm, which amounts to a 10.6% stake.

Other well-known media moguls Lachlan Murdoch and James Packer have also upped their shares in Ten.

Mr Murdoch spent A$35.7 million on 256.9 million new shares, while Mr Packer, who owns about 9% of Ten, also took up his full entitlement of new shares.

The purchase of new shares does not increase these investors' stake in the television station.

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Gina Rinehart threatens to sell Fairfax stake [Online] (Updated 26th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1436856/Gina-Rinehart-threatens-to-sell-Fairfax-stake [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Unison ballot for strike action over 1% pay offer

    Public sector union Unison is to ballot local government workers and school staff in England for strikes after members rejected a 1% pay offer.
  • Inverness man who throttled girl gets community service

    A man who throttled a 12-year-old girl until she collapsed unconscious has been ordered to carry out unpaid community work.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Scottish independence: BBC under pressure over CBI membership

    Supporters of Scottish independence have questioned why the BBC has not resigned from the CBI over the business group's referendum stance.
  • Coronation Street star Barbara Knox denies drink-drive charge

    Coronation Street actress Barbara Knox has pleaded not guilty to drinking and driving.
  • Men arrested on suspicion of murder after Peterborough death

    Three men have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the death of a man at a flat in Peterborough.