THE DISTILLERY: Echo reverberations

Jotters speculate on the significance of a deal between Echo, Crown and shareholders, and diverge in their view of BHP's Kloppers.

It's remarkable the difference a new chairman can make. Under John Story, Echo Entertainment was constantly trading blows with James Packer and Crown. Now, with John O'Neill calling the shots, boxing gloves have been exchanged for cigars and brandy, as the rival casino operators apparently cosy up to discuss alliance options. This morning, the commentariat debates whether those talks might run deeper than a VIP joint venture, or if the media is getting too carried away. Elsewhere, more dirt is piled on BHP's poor old chief, Marius Kloppers, while Telstra's image receives a polish.

But first, following talk of a VIP partnership between casino operators Crown and Echo, Fairfax's Elizabeth Knight believes there's also a possibility of a three-way ownership split between Crown, fellow shareholder Genting, and minority investors.

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