Steve Vizard’s spin doctors claim he
lost $335,000 on the trades involving Sausage Software, Computershare
and Keycorp – but this isn’t full story. What about the clear $1.1
million profit that Vizard made through his dealings with Multiemedia,
which was indirectly related to one of his Telstra conflicts of
interest?

Knowing that Telstra was negotiating with the AFL for
internet rights, Sportsview – a company owned by Steve Vizard, Eddie
McGuire and Stuart Simson – snapped up exclusive internet rights with
four AFL clubs, Carlton, Collingwood, Hawthorn and the Western
Bulldogs. Then they sold a 22.6% stake in Sportsview to listed dotcom
company Multiemedia, as you can see from the heads of agreement announcement and the final agreement revealed on 21 February, 2000.

Multiemedia
paid $1.2 million in cash and three million shares, which at the time
were trading at about $1 each, as you can see from this graph.
This valued the whole of Sportsview at $18.58 million and Vizard,
Simson and McGuire each held shares worth almost $5 million – largely
due to the AFL club internet site deals which Vizard knew (as a Telstra
director) that Telstra was chasing. Vizard had also signed up the MCC
website for Sportsview, which presented another conflict of interest
because he was a member of the MCC committee.

Vizard became a director of Multiemedia on 1 March 2000, and you really should read the announcement
for a walk down memory lane about dotcom boomspeak, including some big
claims about links with Computershare, one of the other companies
Vizard was insider trading on.

Vizard was lured on to the
Multiemedia board with 4.5 million options exercisable at 20c each, and
these were in the money to the tune of $2.7 million on day one. It’s
against the law to issue options or shares to a director without
shareholder approval, so Multiemedia simply issued the options the day
before Vizard joined the board, as you can see from this announcement on 29 February 2000.

He exercised 2.25 million options on 2 March 2000, the day after joining the board, but the vague announcement
doesn’t reveal that it was Vizard spending $450,000 on the stake.
Vizard then secretly sold the entire stake between 7 and 9 March,
raising about $1.55 million and clearing a profit of $1.1 million. It
was on also on 7 March 2000 that Vizard tipped $500,000 into Sausage
Software after being told about the pending merger with Solution 6.

Maybe
he was embarrassed about this because he then breached the ASX rules by
failing to disclose the exercise and sale of the options for more than
five months. Check out this embarrassing apology
and late disclosure lodged with the ASX on 22 August 2000. The man
doing the apologising is Greg Lay, the accountant who ran the Creative
Technology Investments insider deals and reportedly refused to testify
in any criminal action against Steve Vizard.

The whole episode
only came about because Vizard gazumped his own board at Telstra by
snapping up the internet rights to four AFL clubs, flicked these to a
dotcom company, extracted a separate lucrative options package to join
its board and then dumped the stake without telling the market. It
really is breathtaking corporate immorality and provides an insight
into the man who, as one former business partner said yesterday, “ran
one too many orange lights.” We think he meant red lights.

Peter Fray

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