We were family: Rupert Murdoch with Crispin Odey and daughter Prudence on their wedding day.You can’t choose family, or who your beloved children choose to marry – even briefly.
Rupert Murdoch’s former son-in-law, Odey Asset Management’s founding partner Crispin Odey, has given the media mogul a black eye via the multi-billion dollar BSkyB bid to mop up 21st Century Fox’s European pay TV operations.
Odey, the second largest investor in Sky Deutschland behind Fox, says the bid “significantly understates the value of the company,” and it “does not intend to tender its shares in this proposed offer.”
Fox, of course, owns 39 per cent of BSkyB.
Aside from briefly being married to Rupe’s eldest daughter, Prudence, Odey’s other claims to fame include having a sausage named after him, shorting Manchester United shares just before Christmas and causing outrage with some fowl extravagance.
Odey, who earned £28 million in 2008 after successfully betting that shares in British banks would tank, has nearly finished the Grecian temple style chicken coop which has drawn tabloid outrage over its sweeping three-sided stairway, two dozen columns and radiating rooftop design flourishes.
But it appears fowl play is no longer on the agenda.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Odey says his poultry palace has now “morphed into a library.”
“Once I started thinking about what I wanted to have there, it was a Schinkelian temple.” Karl Friedrich Schinkel, he explained, was the architect who worked for the Prussian royal family, “and built almost all of that stuff you come across in Brandenburg and in Berlin.”
Shaking off a sticky situation
Let’s call it a win for philanthropy and the doughnut sector.
The Supreme Court has overturned a corrupt conduct finding against Rams Home Loans founder John Kinghorn in relation to his involvement with Eddie Obeid and his family in an incredibly lucrative mining deal that caused so much fun at the ICAC last year.
“The findings made against him did not support the conclusion that his conduct could involve a criminal offence,” says the judgment.
While his colleagues, including mining mogul Travers Duncan and Kinghorn’s fellow Krispy Kremer, John McGuigan, were not so lucky on the corrupt conduct finding, they all managed to shake off allegations they breached their directors’ duties in relation to White Energy.
This is because even if “intentional dishonesty” is proven, according to the judgment it “did not occur in the exercise of any of their powers as directors, nor in the discharge of any of those duties” at the company which was looking to buy their private company Cascade Coal for $500 million.
The upshot for Kinghorn is that his directorship of Krispy Kreme Australia remains safe as does his naming rights to the Kinghorn Cancer Centre, which cost him $25 million.
There is still the delicate question of whether it is safe for Kinghorn to park his Merc out the Balmoral Beach Club just yet.
Last October the tyres of his car were slashed one morning during his habitual dip at Balmoral. This happened soon after the club became mysteriously afflicted with ‘‘We Love [heart] ICAC’’ stickers.
QBE shocked the markets on Tuesday with the news it had managed to go nearly eight months without a profit downgrade – a new record for its chief executive John Neal.
The news was announced as its shares slumped yet again on the announcement that first-half earnings will plunge thanks to the poorly performing Latin American arm of its empire.
So, that apparently adds up to five earnings downgrades in less than two years for Neal.
At least he’s getting a lot of practice at this sort of thing.
“It’s just one day,” pleaded Neal on his first day in the big chair in 2012, which coincided with his first profit downgrade.
“I’m certainly looking longer term,” he said at the time.
In February this year, Neal said: “We’re particularly aware in the last two years that we have let our shareholders down”, and claimed stabilising the group’s earnings would be his No.1 focus for 2014.
Does QBE do accident-prone insurance?
ASX chairman Rick Holliday-Smith admitted to investors last year that the board made a boo boo in allowing two of its directors to go into business together – an adventure which ended in their resignations from the ASX board following a share-trading scandal in the US.
But ASIC was a little more forgiving in its annual audit of the ASX and the circumstances which lead to the then ASX chairman, David Gonski, green-lighting Russell Aboud and Shane Finemore’s hedge fund frolic.
‘‘Our assessment found that ASX Group has a comprehensive framework, including a number of policies and procedures to identify, assess and manage directors’ conflicts of interest,’’ says the ASIC report.
‘‘In accordance with standard ASX Limited practice, permission was sought from the ASX chairman and a private board discussion took place … After considering their particular skills and markets experience, the board concluded that they were fit to continue as ASX Limited directors.’’
‘‘In considering these events, ASIC noted that there was no technical governance issue or breakdown in ASX Group’s framework for identifying, and/or managing directors’ conflicts of interest.’’
For the record, Holliday-Smith told investors at its AGM that the board had considered and understood the risks of having two directors linked to one organisation.
“[But] given the events that unfolded, this created a somewhat complicated situation,” he said.
“With hindsight maybe we should have minimised the risk more than we did. The judgment was that it wasn’t a risk, but that turned out to be wrong.”
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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.
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