Eddy's down to his lunch money

EDDY Groves' personal bankruptcy statement declared last week he had less than $40 in his bank account. But a tipster tells CBD that could be because the former milkman and childcare centre operator splashed big cash on grog shortly before Christmas.

EDDY Groves' personal bankruptcy statement declared last week he had less than $40 in his bank account. But a tipster tells CBD that could be because the former milkman and childcare centre operator splashed big cash on grog shortly before Christmas.

Groves was allegedly seen loading up a trolley in a Gold Coast bottle-o with at least two dozen wines from the "premium section" - bottles costing between $80 and $150 - before moving on to the hard stuff, carefully stacking a dozen bottles of liquor, including Johnnie Walker Gold and Grey Goose vodka, on top of the wine.

Altogether the haul cost about $2000.

The clanking bottles were then carefully transferred to a very flash looking car that our spy identified as "possibly European".

As there was no mention of wine or liquor collections in Groves' asset statement, could he have polished the lot off over Christmas? Surely not: it sounds like a recipe for one very big hangover.

Nine beats Seven

FORMER Herald Sun editor Simon Pristel has made Seven's flagship Melbourne news bulletin whizzier and bangier, but he appears unable to halt a ratings decline that CBD reckons must be putting revenue at risk.

In the first half of last year, when the Melbourne newsroom was run by Steve "Scarey" Carey, Seven News lagged behind Nine News by about 50,000 viewers, although it would win a night here and there.

Carey packed up his office in late July to make room for Pristel, who made plenty of changes - on-air talent Louise Milligan, Leith Mulligan, Norm Beaman, Sandy Roberts and Katherine Firkin are either gone or edging towards the exit.

However, last week, the first week of the official ratings season, saw Nine News flog Pristel's offering by 110,000 viewers. Nine News had an average of 386,000 viewers, while Seven's equivalent drew just 275,000 pairs of eyeballs.

And Monday night was even worse, with Nine climbing above 520,000 viewers and the gap back to Seven blowing out to 170,000 people.

Despite a share price that has dropped 31 per cent in the past year, Seven West Media is outperforming its rivals - Ten is down 65 per cent and Nine Entertainment had to be restructured in October in order to avoid falling into administration.

But Seven's bad ratings in Melbourne could have financial consequences: an industry source said 110,000 viewers are worth about $250,000 in revenue a week, which works out at $13 million a year.

Money spinners

THERE are just 130-odd days to go until Sydney's monument to the future, the monorail, gets the old lethal injection - it is to close on June 30, although the track will stand forlorn until at least August, when wreckers begin removing the 3.6-kilometre structure.

So, it's great to see New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell trying to make an effort to recoup the $19.8 million spent buying the monorail from its private owner by flogging off merchandise to commemorate the end of the 25-year-old line.

Available from any monorail station: fridge magnets ($2), badges ($2), souvenir coins ($2) and - CBD's favourite - a folding monorail model (a whopping $3.50).

CBD calculates O'Farrell needs to sell just 5.65 million monorail models, or 9.9 million magnets, badges and coins, to recoup the purchase price.

Mystery voice

FOUND: the owner of one mystery voice, as heard on Commonwealth Bank's earnings call last week (CBD, February 14). Step forward chief financial officer David Craig. A final transcript of the call shows David was the man chiming in to comment on the six out of 10 grade head teller Ian Narev gave to the bank's performance. It also shows Craig said Narev was a "hard marker", not "hard hearted", as recorded on the initial transcript.

Banker's holiday

NAREV was out and about in Melbourne on Monday night, wining and dining reptiles of the fourth estate at city eatery Cecconi's. Spotted tucking into his trencher at a separate table was Wesfarmers boss Richard Goyder. Proving even bankers have to take a break, Narev restrained himself from offering Goyder a loan.

Vocal outbursts

ANALYSTS - who loves ya? Certainly not an unidentified executive at Canada's largest natural gas producer, Encana Corp, who called a broker a "f---ing asshole" during a call last week.

As 2MG Asset Management's Mike Mangan points out, jailed Enron CEO Jeff Skilling also called an analyst an "asshole" back in 2001. Closer to home, in 2006 former Foster's boss Trevor O'Hoy suggested Merrill Lynch's David Errington should go on two year's holiday . . . and get some therapy.

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