MUCH joy for Fairfax shareholders or, more correctly, those many who have been shorting the stock.
As of a little after 10 am this morning it had broken through the $1 barrier and was twitching, rather like a dying bird, in a trading range of between 98 cents and 99 cents. Markets are wonderful things and creative destruction even moreso, so here is a thought: With roughly 2.3 billion shares outstanding, it would cost Gina Rinehart no more than the sort of cash she could find down the crack in the couch -- $230 million or so -- to lift her holding from the 4% of Fairfax she controls to 15%.
The Fairfax family's 9.7% stake buys it two of the board's seats, so if Ms Rinehart were to fnd just a tiny little bit of additional capital on top of that, perhaps via likeminded sorts (or from the ashtray of her car), she could snaffle three, four or even five seats, giving her effective control.
Of course the left could do the same thing, at least in theory. But that must be regarded as unlikely, as the port side of Australian politics prefers to fund its media lickspittles with other people's money.