Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Strange days for journalism

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  • DeepRed,

    Reading further into the Monthly article, there seem to be uncanny anti-Federalist political parallels between Western Australia and the Canadian province of Alberta.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4060 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, Angus. There are many adjectives I’d apply to Rinehart but “so stupid she has no idea of the effect of dumping almost 20% of Fairfax shares on the market unless she gets everything her own way”? Defies belief.

    If a company doesn't make any money and has a declining year on year customer base - they cut costs or attract new investors or a combination of both. If these things can't happen it goes bust.

    If Gina Rinehart dumps 20% of Fairfax the price will fall, but not because Gina Rinehart is dumping 20% of Fairfax stock. The price will fall because Fairfax probably can't cut costs fast enough to avoid it going bust without some investment. The price will fall because no one is willing to buy a company that is going bust.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Interesting: Crikey's Paul Barry reckons the Fairfax board might be happy to see Rinehart spit the dummy:

    Supposing you had Genghis Khan and his army camped outside your gates, threatening to go home if you didn’t let him in for a bit of r-pe and pillage, what would you do? Hard question, eh? Well, not really.

    And it’s no harder to decide what the Fairfax board should do in response to Gina Rinehart’s threat to sell her 19% stake if they insist on getting her to sign the pledge not to interfere in editorial policy.

    It’s possible, of course, that a Gina withdrawal could open the way to a full takeover of the company by someone who might want to break it up and sell off the parts. But in the immediate term it would remove a huge amount of pressure that is currently destabilising Fairfax.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18513 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    If Gina Rinehart dumps 20% of Fairfax the price will fall, but not because Gina Rinehart is dumping 20% of Fairfax stock.

    I think we're going to have to strongly disagree on that one, Angus. I think dumping 20% of the company would see the stock tank.

    The price will fall because Fairfax probably can’t cut costs fast enough to avoid it going bust without some investment. The price will fall because no one is willing to buy a company that is going bust.

    I'm still not clear on exactly what magic Rinehart is supposed to bring here. She's buying shares 90% off their peak for reasons which appear to have nothing at all to do with the good of the company. That actually does nothing for Fairfax's bottom line.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18513 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think dumping 20% of the company would see the stock tank.

    My guess is you are right but stock markets can be weird. If she sells 20% of the shares then someone will have to buy them. She will likely want the biggest return for her shares so if someone sees value in Fairfax then it's just as possible for the price to rise.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Stephen S,

    Then there’s the very real added problem of producers/editors towing the populist line and telling their journalists the public wants gaga, one direction or whatever other crap over business, finance or other subjects with meat.

    Thanks for that comment. I happen to be in the middle of another rant about NZ's mainstream media not noticing government ministers travelling to China. I hope you don't mind, but I quoted that in the rant that will be appearing on my much-neglected blog sometime today. So this and your comment on the lack of resources have me worried.

    Winston Peters is back, there was all that fuss and bother about Shanghai Pengxin trying to buy a few farms, there's been a long stream of cabinet ministers and mayors and others coming to China, many, like Tim Groser, specifically to boost trade and openly stating that Chinese investment is welcome in NZ, and our media bosses can't find the money to send journalists along with all these governmental types (unless it's John Key), and besides, the punters are only interested in the antics of pop stars? And this leaves me wondering just how many other important stories are not being covered as well as the public needs if they're going to make informed choices at, for example, elections - everybody else, chime in with your obssessions so we can get a list of what the media should be doing.

    And if that is true, then I hope the internet does turn out to be the death of Old Media.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1965 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Yes, it's oddly drafted, isn't it, in that it doesn't seem to proscribe a visitor making a nuke.

    It doesn't restrict a visitor from exploding a nuclear explosive device, either. (Only from "testing", which isn't defined in section 2.) If you were a visitor to New Zealand who'd just happened to make a nuclear explosive device, perhaps setting it off might be the most practical legal option.

    Probably complicated by other annoying laws beyond the Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987, though.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I’m still not clear on exactly what magic …

    From the little I have studied the stock market, after the initial float unless you issue more shares the company gets no new money to use for investment. BUT if the share value rises then the company can use that “value” to buy other companies (paying with shares) or to leverage loans at lower interest rates.

    At that point it really does become a little like magic. If some good business person invests then other people have confidence in your company which you can use to do stuff.

    Like I said, stock markets can be weird.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to JLM,

    “Only a little nuclear bomb” which referred to the fact that they wanted to use such a device instead of standard explosives in their mining operations.

    Shades of Operation Plowshare if true. That at least was seriously proposed and plans were quite advanced.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 955 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    A couple of things spring to mind on that topic Chris:
    1. the iffiness of acquiring journalist visas
    2. the efficacious Chinese hospitality further intensifying 1.

    Western media is free to reprint official local press releases, but...

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    She will likely want the biggest return for her shares so if someone sees value in Fairfax then it’s just as possible for the price to rise.

    I think you’re presuming a higher degree of rational thought than I’d presume in a woman who’s also busy trying to spite-fuck her own children, who impertinently would like Mother to get her hooks out of their trust fund. Without wanting to get too deep into the parlour psychoanalysis, don’t underestimate how far control freaks will work against their own rational self-interest.

    And while the article Russell linked to is fascinating (and right up to a point), I'm sure older talking heads remember the last time Fairfax became a public battleground for family issues. There's a reason why "Young" Warwick Fairfax has kept a very low media profile for the last twenty-odd years.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11784 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to chris,

    Good points both. However, there are plenty of foreign journalists in China (although no longer any from Al Jazeera English), so visas aren't impossible, just dependent on the goodwill of various governmental types (the fate of Al J English being an example of how to exhaust that goodwill and what happens when that goodwill is gone). And although I understand NZ's media, being rather small, may not have the resources to station anybody here permanently (and run all the risks having journos in China entails), but it would be nice to see some evidence of effort on their part to report stories that could have potentially huge ramifications for NZ's future.

    Foreign media could verbatim repeat official local press releases, but…

    Better than nothing, and too much of what we've got right now is nothing. The rest is simple repeats of the usual wire reports or whatever other deals they have with other media, so no looking at stories from the various angles specific to NZ (like what is Judith Collins up to in Beijing right now? Is AP really going to notice her visit?). Well, there has been the occasional travel article, but the best of them is no better than a well-written blog post, so they don't really add all that much to the non-existent conversation.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 1965 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    good combo - weird personality with weird market - outcome unpredictable.

    Personally I'd avoid Fairfax shares like the Plague or Rheumatic fever.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3221 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    I just can't abide that woman and her ilk (mining arseholes who everything in the world is there for their exploitation.

    Just a slight grammar note, since it's come up twice now:

    It's toeing the line. From the days of bareknuckle fighting, where you had to keep your foot on the line drawn in the sand while attempting to beat the crap out of someone.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 457 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Better than nothing,

    I agree. From the resounding silence I assumed that local approval of official ministerial visits may be subject to some type of gag clause.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 890 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Crikey's Paul Barry reckons the Fairfax board might be happy to see Rinehart spit the dummy:

    A good piece; particularly the detailing of the wrangle between the digital and print factions in Fairfax. Shipping a personality like Andrew Holden over to Melbourne appears to back up Barry's argument; Holden's not one to ask on what part of his body you would like to place your tyre prints. It's a very interesting Aussie media tyrant shitfight; excellent.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2553 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Personally I’d avoid Fairfax shares like the Plague or Rheumatic fever.

    I, for one, welcome Warren Buffett our latest insect overlord. Hey, he can’t screw this pooch any harder and he doesn't regard newsrooms as Marxist cells..

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11784 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think we’re going to have to strongly disagree on that one, Angus. I think dumping 20% of the company would see the stock tank.

    We're both saying it is going to crash. You are saying it is going to happen because Rinehart is selling her shares. I am saying it is going to be lower because it is worth a lot less than Gina Rinehart has been prepared to pay for it and will potentially be valued so low it is destined to be dismembered.

    When GM sold 20% of Subaru in 2005 (during an economic boom) it got USD315million, when Toyota acquired 7.8% of Subaru in Oct-2008 (during a global recession) it paid USD311million. The share price of Subaru more than doubled after 20% of it was dumped.

    I’m still not clear on exactly what magic Rinehart is supposed to bring here. She’s buying shares 90% off their peak for reasons which appear to have nothing at all to do with the good of the company. That actually does nothing for Fairfax’s bottom line.

    Presently she is elevating the equity price well above anything a sane investor would pay, this allows Fairfax to have more access to borrowed capital with which to restructure and potentially survive.

    Furthermore she wants Fairfax intact as a sort of ultimate vanity project shoving her crazy down the throats of Australaisa. People at Fairfax get to keep working at their unprofitable jobs, the bottom line is still crap - but it doesn't matter because Rinehart can cover the losses.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • mnpound,

    The news is being driven today by last night's ABC Four Corners programme, which you can see here.

    Glory - who needs the new series of Dallas? This programme is extra ordinary - and riveting. DO watch it

    auckland • Since Jun 2012 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Craig: My suggestion was a starting point for thinking of it in a way that flows in the opposite direction from aglomeration and editorial monopoly. What would you recommend / suggest? (Seriously..)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 280 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Could this be the beginning of the end for "Big Press"
    I, for one, hope so, it's crap.
    Oh come on, we all whinge about the MSM. Perhaps this is the rebirth of the Forth Estate.
    That would be nice.
    Now, what would that look like?.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4613 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to TracyMac,

    It's toeing the line. From the days of bareknuckle fighting

    as opposed to canal-boating #tow

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16279 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to mnpound,

    The news is being driven today by last night’s ABC Four Corners programme, which you can see here.

    That'd be here. Hopefully :)
    Looks great. Just waiting for the kids to go to bed...
    Looking around the four corners site: jeez, public broadcasting! Freely available on the net, and they ask for story suggestions.
    If we learn how to mispronounce 'fish' can we have some please?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1435 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Sacha,

    as opposed to canal-boating #tow

    Also trawling :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3411 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    ... resembles a fat interstellar slug creature ...

    You seem to be the only one here suggesting she resembles a "fat interstellar slug creature". You didn't get the Vogon reference, did you?

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1122 posts Report Reply

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