Australia’s quietest media proprietor, Bruce Gordon, went very public this week with a rare interview with BRW for its Rich List edition, but he managed to keep his boldest move in Australian media for years from being disclosed – until he had to.

As people were talking about his rare public appearance, Gordon sneaked out the first shot in the media reshuffle that’s going to grip Australian business in coming months. Just before 7pm yesterday, companies associated with Gordon lodged this notice of his 5.02% shareholding in the Ten Network, stake in Ten, worth $74 million at current prices.

Gordon has stolen a march on everyone else in the race to position themselves for the media changes. He certainly can afford it, owning 1.51% of PBL, worth nearly $150 million, 42% of Sunraysia TV and all of WIN TV, which is Nine’s profitable main regional affiliate. He also owns the Crawfords production house, a couple of radio stations and some property development.

The 76-year-old Gordon, who lives in Bermuda, was a magician in the second world war, working for the Tivoli circuit and managing Australian sales for Desilu productions, the Lucille Ball production company, before heading to the US and working for Paramount.

CRIKEY: The talk round the Sydney TV industry today is that Gordon and the Packers have had a falling out. The upshot may very well see WIN selling out of Sunraysia and moving from being an affiliate of Nine to an affiliate of Ten. Gordon also has 1.51% of PBL to sell, which would unsettle the PBL share price. Southern Cross Broadcasting and NBN look like being the most obvious candidates in picking up the Nine regional business. If this happens, it would be one of the biggest shake-ups in Australian TV for some years.