Thanks Woolies, says Dick Smith
By · 25 Nov 2013
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25 Nov 2013
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Thanks Woolies, says Dick Smith

Woolies shoppers have obviously been looking in the wrong place when it comes to hunting bargains at the pokie and grocery giant.

The Woolies rejects bin turned up Dick Smith at an 80 per cent discount to the current sticker price, if the prospectus for the electronics retailer is anything to go by, with a valuation of half a billion. Dick Smith management and private equiteers Anchorage Capital are no doubt grateful for the largesse.

The executive collective will own 11.5 per cent of the company post-float, including chief executive Nick Abboud, whose shares will be worth more than $10 million.

Woolies boss Grant O'Brien may regret a few words in the lead-up to it dumping Dick Smith, like "protecting shareholder value means we need to address areas of underperformance. We need to revisit the way we participate in the electronics category."

All eyes will be on O'Brien as he tries to explain his way out of this one at the Woolies AGM on Tuesday.

DJs put to test

When David Jones decided to test the new-fangled electronic voting gizmos at its shareholder meeting last Friday, the trick was always going to be finding a soft delivery for its rather antsy investors that wouldn't be smacked back into the corporate crown jewels.

Not easy considering the share trading investigation by the corporate pup and the soap opera developing around the departure of cashier-in-chief Paul Zahra.

The board must have thought they were on a winner with the test resolution asking investors whether David Jones should be open to shoppers 24/7.

Maybe the rabble were just practising for the big strike against the remuneration report they were about to deliver, but more than 38 per cent of the vote went against the resolution, and an even larger number of shares abstained.

Given the big bucks invested in its omni-channel strategy, David Jones is obviously hoping its investor base is not too reflective of its overall customer demographic.

Between the lines

At least it may have helped distract the rabble from suspicious signs of a falling out between chairman Peter Mason and Zahra.

Mason opened his address by expressing his appreciation for Zahra's "fine contribution" over 15 years. This of course includes taking the mantle from predecessor Mark McInnes just as the sector went into meltdown.

Departing director John Harvey, on the other hand, was deemed to have made a "significant contribution" for his 12 years on the board, which include chairing the audit committee. Bravo.

Parade rained on

Was it the drenching rains, or the period dress code that kept the big names away from the Bong Bong Picnic Races at Bowral, NSW, on Friday? Past regulars were conspicuous by their absence, with no-shows from the likes of John Singleton, Gerry Harvey and country squire Mark Burrows.

This year the Riversdale Group, Paddy Coughlan and Rod "Ned" Kelly, hosted their marquee but the guests, which included the actor Roy Billing, who played "Aussie" Bob Trimbole in the first Underbelly series, spent the day huddled under umbrellas.

Still, it wasn't the worst day in the history of the race. One century after its inception in 1886, the meetings were closed after some of the well lubricated 35,000-odd patrons became less concerned about continence than the horses.

One resident claimed a drunken punter had urinated through her car window.

"The other day a bloke pissed on my car at Warwick Farm. Bong Bong is not the only place where it happens," retorted one of the race organisers in 1988 after attempts to revive the race failed.

The races made a comeback in 1992 with strict crowd control measures that included attendance being limited to members and their guests.
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