Retail developer and manager Centro Properties has shaken up its
competitors by offering to float a half share in a $2 billion
retail shopping centre portfolio that has a spread of assets in
Australia and the US, reports The Smage. And at first glance the restructuring defies industry logic, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in the Smage. But it works on a number of levels because it’s more
a financial transaction – a sophisticated piece of financial
engineering – than a property transaction.

The Australian reports that the Packers have spurned Telstra to seal an alliance with the number two telecommunications carrier,
Optus, in a deal that promises to reshape the Australian multimedia landscape. James Packer said the alliance made the concept
of “convergence” – telecommunications and media companies working
together to deliver multimedia content over a host of devices such as
TV, the internet and mobile phones – a reality.

New Telstra boss, Sol Trujillo, can bring more focus, can move faster
in rationalising the telco’s networks, and can bring together an executive
team. But can he really make it grow faster than it is? asks the AFR’s
Chanticleer. If Telstra steps on the accelerator, competitors will soon
cry foul and the political pressure to do something will increase.
Trujillo’s job will be hard enough as he works out the right levers to
pull, but his real nightmare would emerge if the government couldn’t
sell its stake in the company.

The Fin Review reports that NSW is increasingly the most expensive
state in Australia to do business after other states pledged to slash
taxes by nearly $500 million in the new financial year, sparking
warnings that companies will migrate to Queensland and elsewhere. Also
in the AFR, federal health minister, Tony Abbott, has caved in to
the powerful pharmacy lobby and promised to extend rules banning
supermarkets from operating pharmacies, despite a strong push for
changes by Woolworths.

And Robert Gottliebsen in The Oz… has retired.

On Wall Street, US stocks ended slightly lower overnight with the Dow
Jones snapping a seven-session run of gains – a feat not equaled since
March 2003 – after a
fresh surge in oil prices. The blue chip index fell 13.96 points to
10,609. MarketWatch has a full report here.