Better paid than the boss?

Better paid than the boss?

A quick run through the sparse 318-page document filed by News Corp over the weekend on its imminent split showed that wizened mastermind Rupert Murdoch is not the only one reaping a few more shekels out of the corporate manoeuvre.

Lost in the euphoria over Rupert's well-deserved incentive plan was Robert Thompson's compensation as chief executive of the new News Corp (that's the half with the less profitable but more fun print media businesses in it).

CBD suspects the $US2 million base salary is a little bit more than Thompson earned as managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, and the good news is the new contract kicked in on January 1 this year and is not set to conclude until June 30, 2016. There is also a modest $US2 million annual bonus incentive and a $US4 million long-term incentive bonus covering the employment contract.

Indeed, Thomson will earn more from the new News Corp than executive chairman Rupert, who will take home $US1 million base pay as well as short and long-term incentives of as much as $US2 million each. However, when duties over at the other half of the empire, the profitable 21st Century Fox, are taken into account, Rupert's total pay could balloon to $US28.3 million.

A family affair

The empire built by the Waterhouse clan isn't just a family business - it's an outfit where family are the business. In between stoushing with adman John Singleton, Gai Waterhouse runs her racehorse training business and works with thoroughbred syndication outfit Star Thoroughbreds.

Then there's Gai's husband Robbie, a former bookie who spent 17 years banned from racing over the 1984 Fine Cotton race-fixing affair, who has a stake in the gambling empire run by their controversial son, Tom. And husband and wife have come together to invest in the future of their very own filly Kate (by Robbie out of Gai), who is a Fairfax Media columnist.

ASIC records show that both parents are shareholders in Kate Waterhouse Pty Ltd, as is Kate herself. The company's directors are Kate and her aunt, Robbie's sister Louise Raedler-Waterhouse. Louise is the link between Kate and Tom - she holds shares and directorships in companies within the tangled corporate web behind the fresh-faced bookie's business.

Issue bombs

How does a bombing in Boston have a "materially adverse" effect on a biotech minnow? CBD has no idea, but that's one of the reasons given by stockbroker Novus Capital for terminating its agreement to underwrite a $3.5 million rights issue by OBJ Limited. On Friday, Perth-based OBJ, which is developing a method of delivering drugs through the skin, said it had considered Novus' termination notice and decided it was "wrongful and invalid".

It said it was not "objective and reasonable" for Novus to consider that the April 15 terror attack on the Boston Marathon had "materially and adversely" affected the company, and denied its slumping share price represented a "material adverse change in the condition, financial position or prospects of the company".

Farewell feast

Who says good deeds never pay off? On Monday night top fund-raisers for OzHarvest's CEO Cookoff feasted on oysters, crab, duck and steak tartare prepared by celebrity chef Matt Moran as a thank-you for their efforts.

Among execs invited to the shindig at Moran's Sydney restaurant were leading fund-raiser Ben Cottle, the founder of FDC Construction & Fitout (who raised a whopping $86,183), Optiver CEO Paul Hilgers (second place, $75,880), QantasLink's executive manager of regional airlines John Gissing ($7200) and Brita boss Peter Harley ($7012). All up, the February event raised more than $1 million.

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