Reitzer tidies up the small change

Reitzer tidies up the small change

Metcash's long-time chief executive, Andrew Reitzer, may not be stepping down until June next year, but he has wasted little time getting his affairs in order - most specifically getting on with the business of selling half his stake in the company as part of "retirement planning."

As Metcash made the announcement he would be leaving last Thursday, Reitzer began his first sale of shares.

He offloaded about 56,000, reaping some $200,000, according to a change of director's interest notice filed with the ASX yesterday.

Like any retailer worth his salt, Reitzer knows better than to flood the market with product. The sale leaves him with more than $6 million worth of shares in Metcash and didn't trouble its share price.

Of course, retirement doesn't mean Reitzer's supermarket sweep will end. Metcash will pay him an as-yet-unspecified amount under a three-year consultancy contract that will ring-fence him from the competition.

The terms of the contract are yet to be determined and will not be made public until Metcash releases its next annual report, the company says.

Longer-term effect

The kerfuffle over dessicated disc jockey Alan Jones may yet cost the 2GB breakfast host something CBD feels is far more precious than the respect of media peers and politicians: money.

That's because Jones gets shares in 2GB's owner, Macquarie Radio Network, based on the performance of the emetic entertainer's radio show.

Jones's offensive outburst just over a week ago, in which he told a Young Liberals function Julia Gillard's father had died of shame over her performance as Prime Minister, puts some of the options at risk.

According to Macquarie's latest annual report, Jones was granted options over 4 million shares in 2008, to be be exercised, 1.3 million shares a time, from 2011 to 2013.

However, half of each tranche is conditional on the breakfast program increasing its earnings by 5 per cent a year while the other half is conditional on the entire network meeting its profit targets.

Those targets were met in the 2011 financial year, and Jones was duly issued with 1.3 million odd shares on September 3, just a couple of weeks before his fateful speech at that Sydney University Young Liberals Club dinner.

The 2012 options also appear safe, with Macquarie's executive chairman, Russell Tate, telling CBD the targets for the financial year just gone had been met.

Jones can exercise those any time from the end of the month.

However, Tate confirmed the final tranche of 1.3 million, worth about $800,000, is at risk.

Honda, Hyundai and Telstra yesterday joined the exodus of advertisers from Jonestown, and only time will tell whether they return once the media firestorm dies down.

As for Macquarie, Tate doesn't think the death by shame saga

is something that is material to shareholders - yet.

Asked if the company would be making an ASX announcement, he said: "Certainly there's no consideration of that at this stage."

The market reaction, or lack of, so far bears him out.

The stock is closely held, with just 600 shareholders - one of whom, adman John Singleton, owns a whopping 71 per cent.

Yesterday, in the first trades since September 10, a parcel of 2400 shares crossed at 59? - down a cent - but another parcel of 600 closed at 60?, bringing the price back to where it started from.

Caliburnt off

And lo, it came to pass. As CBD predicted last week, the storied Australian boutique corporate advisory that employs former competition watchdog Graeme Samuel has changed its moniker.

The official paperwork went through on Monday, divorcing Greenhill Caliburn from the Caliburn part of its name.

From yesterday, like Sonic the Hedgehog, Samuel and friends inhabit the Green Hill Zone.

Let's hope the new name, Greenhill & Co Australia, sticks this time - the company tried out the moniker for the first time a couple of weeks ago, but changed it back after a day.

The flux appears to have caught its chief executive, Simon Mordant, by surprise - last week, when CBD asked him about the changes, he expressed surprise.

It's a change that reflects the group's 100 per cent ownership

by the US investment bank Greenhill, with which Caliburn enjoyed a long and mutually satisfying relationship before hooking up for realsies in 2010.

On the money

Just nine of 28 economists surveyed by Bloomberg correctly predicted the RBA would cut interest rates by 25 basis points yesterday. Getting an elephant stamp were Macquarie Research, Scott Haslem at UBS, Matt Circosta

of the ratings agency Moody's, Celeste Tay from 4Cast, Stephen Koukoulas of Market Economics, Bill Evans of Westpac (who is Bloomberg's top-ranked economist), AMP Capital Investors, FIIG Securities and ANZ.

The rest, including big names Chris Caton of BT and HSBC's top gun, ex-RBA economist Paul Bloxham, predicted no change.

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