Gilchrist goes into battle
Cricket legend Adam Gilchrist is famous for his sense of fair play on the field. So CBD hopes he'll exhibit the same qualities in the courtroom, where he is embroiled in a legal stoush over a company where he's a director.
Gilchrist and the other directors of sandalwood plantation outfit TFS Corporation have launched legal action against Report Card, the company behind popular sharemarket discussion website hotcopper.com.au.
The WA Supreme Court lawsuit is something called "pre-action discovery", where you sue somebody to get evidence as to who it is you really want to sue.
Named as plaintiffs are Gilchrist, TFS CEO Frank Wilson, CFO Quentin Megson and non-executive directors Stephen Atkinson, Ronald Eacott and Julius Matthys. However, documents obtained by CBD show that TFS Corporation has backed the action financially, writing a $1000 cheque to Report Card towards its costs of responding to the lawsuit.
Hotcopper users have been cranky about TFS for a while, and it may be that the company wants to discover the names of the agitators.
In August, user "bobuck" reported receiving a phone call from Wilson. "He threatened to sue me," the former TFS shareholder wrote in a Hotcopper post. He went on to repost a December 2012 yarn by BusinessDay's own Michael West, detailing the efforts of rebel shareholders to spill the board.
By the end of the month, bobuck had posted an apology for "allegations which were defamatory, without foundation and false" against Wilson, Atkinson, Eacott, Gilchrist, Matthys and Megson.
Wealth spruiker Jamie McIntyre reckons he might buy BRW, which Fairfax is spiriting from news stands in favour of the magical digital uplands.
Furthermore, he's looking to hire hacks.
And what ink-stained wretch could resist the lure of working for a man against whom the corporate plod fought a five-year legal battle? (All dropped in the end, with McIntyre's overseas travel ban lifted, after he agreed to repay investors and do a company director's course.)
"My acquisition team have spoken to Fairfax Digital in recent times re potential acquisitions but not BRW however they are now making inquiries re that as well," McIntyre told CBD.
Sadly, the BRW brand is not for sale. But McIntyre said he was also "considering looking to hire some brand-name journalists to write for us and also a more senior journalist to [join] our board".
Nothing like some corporate activity to generate much-needed fees for financial services types who have for too long been starved of sustenance. So CBD readers know who to hit up for a drink at the bar, bankers lowering nose to trough for the Dexustilt at the CBA's listed trust, Commonwealth Property Office Fund (CPA), are JP Morgan, Citigroup, Deutsche and Macquarie, while Goldman Sachs is advising CBA on the management rights for CPA and the separate shopping centre business, CFS Retail. The team at UBS is working with CPA and CFS.
To ensure the right spin is put on the news, the public relations people are Citadel PR for Dexus, FTI Consulting for the CBA and Cosway for the independent directors of the responsible entity of the trust, Commonwealth Investment Management, chaired by Richard Haddock.
Was that really Liberal Party powerbroker Michael Kroger and union heavyweight Paul Howes having a friendly chat outside the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne on Tuesday morning? CBD's spy insists the pair were having a good old chinwag.
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