Macquarie Media is a classic of its kind, involving Macquarie Bank
buying some likely assets, carrying them on its balance sheet for a
short period of time (about a year in this case) and then selling
them back to the public, says Malcolm Maiden in The Age. The question for investors may well be: what side of this deal
would you prefer to be on? The float of Macquarie Media Group has all the lucrative bells
and whistles that characterise the “Macquarie Model” for doing
business. It also marks the birth of what could be only
our second Australian-based global media business, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Age.

And as far as Macquarie Bank and the Macquarie Media’s executive
chairman, Tim Hughes, are concerned, this float is not about a
passion for product, political influence nor feudal turf wars –
it’s about strong cash flow, sustainable earnings and a reasonable
yield, says Elizabeth Knight in The SMH.
But the float is still a huge gamble on the Macquarie machine in an age
where the media battlegrounds are changing fast, says John Durie in the
AFR’s Chanticleer. The regional broadcast assets account for
just 46% of the up to $996 million being raised and whatever the next
acquisition, be it Southern Cross or Fairfax, new-age media will be
the real test of the latest Macquarie offshoot.

It takes a kind of desperate courage to embrace your enemy and
perhaps John Fairfax has never been quite desperate enough to
entirely embrace the internet, says Alan Kohler in The Smage. Or perhaps it’s just that the company – that is, the management
and board under pressure from short-term focused fund managers –
has worried more about the next interim profit than an uncertain
long-term strategic threat. Whatever it is, leadership in the last major online classified
advertising category has now passed to a competitor.

Strong sharemarket conditions will drive an estimated $10 billion worth
of floats over the next three months, with yesterday’s listing of
Alinta Infrastructure Holdings and Macquarie Bank’s media fund heading
a list of major offerings, reports The Fin Review. Also in the AFR,
an unexpected slump in exports has led to the biggest trade deficit in
five months and raised concerns that the trade sector is not recovering
as quickly as expected.

The Australian reports that Telstra will appeal to the Howard Government to
take the unprecedented step of overriding the competition regulator on
pricing for access to its copper wire network, amid concerns a bad
decision will further harm the company’s share price. But the telco received a boost yesterday
after a major broking house, Credit Suisse First Boston, upgraded the telecom’s profit outlook
based on the “significant cost savings” that could flow from a
multi-billion transformation of the network, reports The SMH.

On Wall Street, US stocks ended lower overnight as Federal Reserve concern over
inflation in the economy erased the positive impact of a fall in
crude-oil prices. The Dow Jones fell 94.37 points to 10,441 – MarketWatch has a full report here.

Peter Fray

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