When friends turn frenemies

In the media business, today's friend is yesterday's enemy.

In the media business, today's friend is yesterday's enemy.

Just a few weeks ago, Southern Cross Austereo boss Rhys Holleran (pictured) was the No. 1 fan of Lachlan Murdoch's Ten Network. "They are making some really good progress and we remain very supportive," Holleran told analysts on a February 18 call.

Ten provides the content for SCA's regional TV network, the company's other business apart from an open-sewer radio business that is home to royal pranksters and Vile Kyle Sandilands.

And yet, if a report in the Australian Financial Review is to be believed, Holleran and chairman Max "The Axe" Moore-Wilton had already met Nine boss David Gyngell to discuss a rival affiliation deal.

Not something that Holleran told the analysts. "We have had lots of discussions with our various network partners with supply," he told them, adding that he expected to reach a deal before July 1 (the Ten deal expires "mid-year", according to the company).

CBD wanted to ask Holleran about his change of heart and whether the deal with Ten includes a clause that negotiations must be in "good faith". On the other hand, good faith among broadcasters? That's just silly.

Starry fund-raiser

All the skylarking, shenanigans, rough-housing and general carrying-on dominating the media sector should make it an interesting weekend for those attending the golf fund-raiser to be staged by the boss of media buyer Starcom, John Sintras, later this month.

The event, which raises money for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, is usually well-attended by media types, along with executives from financial services, banking and insurance.

It'd be perfect for renegotiating that pesky debt covenant except that Sintras reckons it's a family-oriented weekend.

"It's the whole family seeing each other without ties or business suits on," he told CBD.

He said last year's event had about 400 adult attendees, along with 200 kids, and raised about $1.6 million.

"It's groaning, it's grown over the years to the point where it can't get any bigger."

The CBD Golf Escape takes place between March 22 and March 24 at Cypress Lakes Resort in NSW's Hunter Valley.

Thailand tips

They say it's time to get out of the market when shoeshine boys start offering stock tips, but how about south-east Asian politicians? (And where do you find a shoeshine boy these days anyway?)

"You should buy stocks in Cochlear," Thailand's MIT-educated Transport Minister, Chadchart Sittipunt, told Australian journalists during a tete-a-tete in the plush meeting rooms of his Bangkok ministry last week.

Sittipunt, whose son had his hearing restored by an Australian medical expert with the aid of a Cochlear implant, gave thanks to the technology, which he said "changed lives of many people".

The minister, who is overseeing one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country's history, worth $67 billion, spent 18 months in Australia 10 years ago as a researcher at the CSIRO.

Many members of Thailand's elite were educated in Australia, including the Crown prince, who was groomed as a young officer at Royal Military College at Duntroon, and a former commerce minister who studied economics at the University of Western Australia. An Australian automotive executive also told CBD's spy there was also a healthy cohort of Geelong Grammarians running the place.

Conn pulls chute

So long, Bill Conn, who on Monday resigned as chairman and director of stricken Becton Property Group (as did non-executive director Peter Dempsey).

It's not the first time Conn has jumped from the chairman's seat as a company foundered.

Take - please - World Wide Entertainment, which held the TV production business of former Pyramid Building Society boss Bill Farrow. Backed into a listed shell in January 2009, the company lasted only 18 months before it was suspended from the exchange after a subsidiary went into administration. By that time, Conn had been off the board for a good fortnight.

It's showbiz lane

Rupert Murdoch's nephew, Michael Kantor, has snapped up a slice of Melbourne's CBD, by buying a small building in a laneway. A buyer's advocate acting on behalf of the theatre director paid $1.42 million for the 100-square-metre building at auction.

The funky two-bedroom warehouse conversion in Bennetts Lane is just across from the jazz club of the same name and down the lane from the Myer family's office. Dingle Partners managing director Anton Wongtrakun declined to comment on the identity of the buyer.

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