There’s a bit of resigned sighing around the internet today at the thought of mining heiress, right-wing lobbyist and Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart buying a 15% stake in Fairfax.
Alan Kohler suggests we shouldn’t be too worried:
Gina Rinehart is likely to find investing in Fairfax Media a deeply frustrating experience, whether she’s trying to influence the newspapers or just make money… she will need to buy more than 15% of Fairfax to have any say — even if she does manage to get on the board.
It’s possible that Fairfax board meetings will become slightly less civilised affairs if Australia’s richest person is present as part-owner of the company, but 15% doesn’t buy you the ability to change strategy or management.
It’s true that 10% of the Ten Network got her on the board, and the sudden appearance of a Sunday morning TV show by her favourite columnist, Andrew Bolt, is often cited as evidence of her influence, but there is no way that would have happened against the better judgment of Ten’s programmers… to force Andrew Bolt into The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, I’d say she would need to buy 51% of the company, and even then she’d struggle.
So cheer up. It’s not like The Age or SMH have been effective advocates for anything recently, anyway.