Toorak neighbours and best friends
Lindsay Fox and Solly Lew may have finished up with egg on their faces
after failing to complete their deal to save Ansett in 2002, but the
almost-billionaires (Solly has $937 million and Lindsay $950 million
according to BRW ) have been very busy of late.

First, we should congratulate ourselves for this accurate tip in Crikey Daily on Friday 10 June:

Could Lindsay Fox be looking to buy the troubled Luna Park
in the inner Melbourne suburb of St Kilda? The Linfox helicopter spent
about 20 minutes from 11:40am today circling the site. Of course, the
benevolent near-billionaire could just be in a holding pattern for a
table at Donovans or The Stokehouse.

Check out The Age’sstory
today on Lindsay $7 million purchase. There’s something about the gruff
Melbourne trucker’s desire to buy high profile property. No-one in
Australia has a record quite like this:

  • When Nissan pulled out of Australia in 1992, Linfox bought the main production site in Oakleigh.
  • When Essendon Airport was put on the block, Linfox teamed up with property developer Max Beck to snap it up.
  • When Philip Island was put on the map by the 500cc motorcyle GP, Fox decided to buy the track.
  • When Avalon Airport came up for sale, Linfox snapped it up and then lured Jetstar down there.

Fox has also attracted plenty of controversy down Portsea way with his
various schemes to effectively create a private beach for himself. Part
of the attraction of Ansett was Lindsay’s desire to land his chopper on
the roof of the Melbourne head office, rather than always having to
divert it to the oval of his old school, Melbourne High.

The
friendship between Lindsay and Solly Lew has survived a lot over the
years, and Solly is himself making headlines after snapping up 9% of
Just Group for about $40 million as you can see from this report in The Age.

Solly
has had about as many high profile retail plays as Lindsay has done
head-line grabbing property deals. The trading in Coles Myer over the
years has made Solly more than $500 million and he pocketed a profit of
almost $100 million getting out of Colorado last year. Then you have
the long battle that Solly waged with Michael Kroger as a minority
shareholder in Country Road, plus the small stake he currently owns in
streetwear group Globe International and the residual holding in
Houswares International.

Add Just Group to that list and Solly’s
privately held Witchery, Nine West and toy importer Playcorp and the
lad has been remarkably successful in the retail space over the years.