Media News - Friday, August 24, 2012
Shares in ailing Australian media giant Fairfax slumped to an all-time low Friday after an attempt by its largest holder Gina Rinehart to offload at least a third of her stake. At the close, the company's stock was down nearly 11 percent at 45.5 cents, having earlier touched 44.5 cents. The previous record low was 49.5 cents, reached earlier this month. The attempted sell-off came after the company, which has newspaper, radio and digital interests, on Thursday revealed a full-year loss of AUD 2.73bn (USD 2.87bn), driven by write-downs as part of a restructuring. Later Thursday, it emerged that mining tycoon Rinehart had unsuccessfully moved to dump one-third of her stake. Rinehart put 117.3 million Fairfax shares up for sale at 50 cents a share through investment bank Morgan Stanley, a one cent per share discount to Thursday's closing price of 51 cents. But reports said she was unsuccessful, with the sale pulled because of a lack of demand at that price. Rinehart offloaded a four-percent stake in July following a bitter row with the company's directors over board influence and her refusal to sign the charter of editorial independence, bringing her holding down to about 15 percent. The world's richest woman first took a stake in Fairfax in 2010 and significantly boosted her holdings this year in a series of share raids which triggered speculation she was trying to increase her public influence. She has been deeply critical of chairman Roger Corbett, demanding he stand down if he cannot reverse the company's fortunes by November. (AFP)
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