Gina Rinehart dumps her Fairfax shares

A large parcel of shares in Fairfax Media were dumped on the stock exchange below market value.

The 2.3 billion shares, much more than the average daily trading volume of 5 million, were offered in after hours trading and snapped up by a range of institutional investors.

It was later revealed that the seller was a disgruntled Gina Rinehart, who accepted 87 cents per share for her 14.9% holding in the company, below the day’s closing price of 96 cents.

The majority shareholder has been an outspoken critic of the company since she first purchased her stake in the Fairfax Media, and has been repeatedly denied a seat on the board becuase she refused to sign the company’s charter of editorial independence.

One of her objectives has been achieved however, with Fairfax finally finding a way to merge its radio operations with Macquarie Radio Network.

The merger is not yet complete. It is not known whether the Rinehart share sale indicates that there may be trouble with the deal.

John Singleton has been critical of the ‘red tape’ approvals process that had to be endured before the deal was complete, and MRN recently foreshadowed an impending profit fall.

In a parting shot at the company, a statement from Rinehart’s chief development officer John Klepec put the knife into Fairfax management one last time:

“We have come to the conclusion that the senior leadership of Fairfax Media has no workable plan to revitalise the company and address the declining business and circulation numbers.

“A series of bad decisions made by the leadership team has instead increased the number of publication errors and reduced the company’s performance to cover news to standards expected to maintain the credibility of some of the oldest and finest newspaper mastheads in the country.

“The Fairfax radio stations will be in more successful hands when moved into the joint venture and management oversight of John Singleton’s Macquarie Radio Network.

“Should the Fairfax Media leadership change, we may consider a future role in the company.”

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