A turn-around for TEN?

How wealthy is Gina Rinehart really?

Estimates of Gina Rinehart’s wealth vary widely; all agree that she has been extraordinarily successful in growing the wealth she inherited from her father, the late Langley (Lang) Hancock.

Writing in The Monthly May 2012 Nick Bryant pointed out that when she first appeared on the BRWRich 200‘ list in 1992 her wealth in Hancock Prospecting was $75 million.

According to the Australian, May 23, 2012, Rinehart topped the 2012 BRW ‘Rich List’ with an estimated fortune of $29.17 billion; she was named the richest woman in the world, overtaking Christy Walton of Wall-Mart fame. She was also said to be on track to replace Mexican Mogul Slim Helu as the richest person in the world.

A more recent estimate (March 2013) of her wealth is $17 billion placing her as the sixth wealthiest woman in the world (Forbes magazine). Falling demand for, and the prices of, iron ore, together with a reduction in royalties received from Hammersly Iron, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, as a result of a successful challenge from fellow billionaire Stanley Perron have reduced her estimated wealth. Furthermore she is apparently facing a legal challenge for 23.5% of the privately owned Hancock Prospecting. If successful this will further prune her wealth.

Just by virtue of her wealth, she could provide financial stability to TEN but would be unwise to prop up a failing business.

A new challenge for Gina Rinehart

Media companies have struggled for profitability for many years; management instability has added to the woes of Ten Network Holdings in the past two years. Could the appointment of Gina Rinehart provide the direction and toughness needed for a turn-around in profitability?

Running a media company will be far different from the familiar mining domain she has mastered. But the practical management nous she has gleaned from her father, and from her own vast experience, can be applied  to running any business. She may be accustomed to the indulgences  of wealth, but she has learnt lessons of austerity when necessary, prudence in expenditure, and the value of hard work.

Increasingly Gina Rinehart has been subject to concerted attack and ridicule. Many would argue that she has brought on much of it by her own actions. But it would be fair to say that some of it is politically motivated as she has grown to become a symbol for many of the “filthy rich” they envy, and even detest. Her presence on the share-registers of TEN and Fairfax Media may be seen as provocative. threatening editorial impartiality, but this has not been demonstrated thus far, and she is simply exercising her democratic rights.



TEN board sacks new CEO, Gina Rinehart takes charge.

By David Knox on April 1, 2013 / Filed Under News, Top Stories 175

EXCLUSIVE: The Board of Network TEN has sacked its new CEO Hamish McLennan after just 2 weeks in the role and appointed shareholder Gina Rinehart to the top job.

The WA billionaire becomes the sixth CEO at the struggling network in just over two years.

McLennan, a former News Corporation executive, is believed to have been dismissed by the Board after failing to lift the ratings during his first two weeks in the job.

Sources say Board members argued that he was perceived to be spending too much time at the Grand Prix in Melbourne and parties in Canberra when he should have been focussed on lifting the network’s performance. The Board has acted immediately, determined to show advertisers it means business.

A source told TV Tonight,”Hanging around with F1 drivers in Melbourne and sipping champers with the media -it just wasn’t a good look when MasterChef was barely in front of SBS. In his first week in the job he went off to Canberra to schmooze with the Press Gallery and politicians. That might be the way to do things with Rupert but not around here.”

A TEN spokesperson declined to thank McLennan for his weeks of service, issuing a blunt statement: ”We will not be renewing Hamish’s contract, the details of which we will not discuss publicly.”

Lachlan Murdoch is understood to have put himself forward as Interim CEO once again but Board members howled down the idea in a heated debate. The words “Everybody Dance Now are said to have been exchanged.

With shareholder Bruce Gordon currently embroiled in WIN Television’s legal stoush, the only option was to appoint Rinehart, who has immediately embarked on a hardline approach to turn the network around.

Charlie Pickering has been axed from The Project for his ‘pinky, lefto tree-hugging’ views and the show itself has been trimmed to 30 minutes and bumped to 4pm weekdays. In its place is an expanded, weeknight edition of The Bolt Report.

NB This post is not a recommendation to buy TEN Network shares. The situation is one of general interest however, and it will be fascinating to see if she can manage it competently. I would prefer not to follow her fortunes with a personal investment. Entrepreneurial wealth can be fleeting especially when the sharks start circling.

Categories: Business, Trading opinion

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