FUNDS managers under Commonwealth Bank's umbrella are the first to identify themselves as significant sellers of Fairfax Media shares to mining magnate Gina Rinehart.
A substantial shareholding notice filed yesterday by CBA disclosed that they had sold more than 55 million shares last Thursday and Friday when brokers acting for Mrs Rinehart were increasing her holding to 18.67 per cent of Fairfax.
The net reduction in its shareholding since the last time it made a statement in early February was a smaller number of shares because some funds had also bought shares in the interim. That February notice from CBA was also about a reduction in its holdings, and in part stemmed from selling shares to Mrs Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting group. Overall, holdings in Fairfax attributable to funds under CBA's control, most of them within the Colonial First State group, fell from 11.04 per cent to 8.88 per cent of the media group.
CBA's notice points out that 1.4 percentage points of that Fairfax stake are managed by external groups that take their own decisions on buying and selling stocks.
Mrs Rinehart won the Commonwealth Bank Business Owner Award in 2009, a subset of the Telstra Business Women's Awards where she won the overall prize that same year.