Until the Thin Review finds a permanent Rear Window columnist, we’ll keep churning out frontwindow and this week we have the tale of Ron Walker’s new house and a tale of Nick Greiner calling a reporter a “fuck wit”.

Ron has also recently bought a new Ferrari.

Why is he splashing out like this?

Well, Ron sold his 5 million PBL shares at the top of the market a few weeks back and pocketed about $80 million in cash. He got the shares when Kerry Packer decided he rather liked Crown and as part of this HudCon was privatised.

Ron swapped his 16 per cent stake in HudCon into 5 million PBL shares through a two-for-three exchange. Given that he sold out for about $15 a PBL share, this valued his Hudson Conway shares at $10 a piece.

It is probably all tax free too after the federal government changed the law and allowed capital gains tax relief for scrip takeovers.

Given that Ron picked up the genesis of his Hudson Coway shares before 1985, he is in the Rupert Murdoch and Frank Lowy category of having tax free capital gains.

So how much did the Federal Treasurer of the Liberal Party make out the monopoly casino licence awarded by the Victorian Liberal government.

Given that HudCon shares were trading at $2.75 before the market got wind of the fact that HudCon would win the casino licence in 1993, it appears he has turned $20 million of hard to sell HudCon paper into $80 million in cash. And with PBL back below $12 he has timed his exit much better than Lloyd Williams who is hanging in there.

Chris Tyler Really Cops It

Poor old Chris Tyler is really copping it from all directions. Even after he has resigned as CEO of Solution 6 and left the country, BRW has splashed out with another cover story on him, this time detailing which of the directors had second thoughts about appointing him and his mixed performance at Telecom NZ.

The guy really does need a break. Afterall, he’s got one brother in jail and another who has done time and Chris himself got done for possession of two bags of grass back in Texas in 1985.

The Murdoch press seems to be really going after Tyler and Kerry Packer’s Business Sunday certainly gave it the full treatment last week too.

Could this be inspired by a News-Packer desire to embarrass Telstra’s Ted Pretty, one of Tyler’s great mates and business supporters. Afterall, Ted voted against some of the Packerphiles on the Telstra board who wanted to buy PBL for $17.50 a share. Thank god for Australia they didn’t and what the hell is Bob Mansfield doing as chairman of Telstra.

The Telegraph carried a pretty tough piece on Pretty two Saturdays back as well. Let’s hope Rupert’s ongoing frustration with Telstra through his uncomfortably small 25 per cent stake in Foxtel is not coloring the editorial judgment here.

Who Is The “Fuck Wit” Nick

Word has filtered back third hand that Nick Greiner called The Australian’s dotcom editor Nic Hopkins a “fuck wit” at the BMC Media AGM on May 15.

Hopkins, a big strapping lad with a handy serve, wrote a story on the morning of the meeting about how some of the directors of this internet advertising outfit chaired by Greiner were hoping to get out of their tough escrow restrictions as part of a NASDAQ listing.

The “shoot the messenger” index is always a good one to watch. Since Greiner attacked Hopkins, BMC Media shares have plunged more than 20 per cent. Sadly for us, the beautiful Paula Piccinini paid $3.60 for her shares last month and they’re now trading around $1.50.

Paula is starting to wonder which of the Nicks is really the fuck wit.

Salomon Smith Baloney: Up The Ramp And Over The Cliff

We love Chris Webb’s column in The Age, especially when he exposes brokers hyping their own book. We are struggling to come up with a better example than the effort put in by Salomon Smith Baloney in hyping Solution 6 shares just as they were advising “two bags” Tyler on his ill-fated bid for Sausage Software.

Over to Spider Webb for the rest:

“The SSB document proclaimed that ‘Solution Sizzles’ and that the stock was a ‘buy, speculative’.

The price when this missive was published was $12.95 and Salomon had this to say: “We reiterate our buy recommendation as we expect that the price is likely to pass through our $14.49 valuation as the market appreciates the growth opportunities available – particularly from the Telstra relationship.”

Falling rocklike ever since, Solution sold yesterday at $3.50. At the time, it should be pointed out, Salomon was acting for Solution 6 in its Sausage takeover.”

Go get ’em Spider. What a load of Baloney that is from Salomon. And you guys are meant to be one of the three best brokers on Wall Street.

It’s almost as bad as Malcolm Turnbull’s Goldman Sachs crew claiming ecorp is worth $7.60. It almost got there but is now heading back towards $2 which is still more than it deserves. Paula still has her Solution Sux shares but at least we got out of Ecorp at $5-plus.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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