Despite the continuing campaign
against Seven in News Ltd’s The Australian
and in the Federal Court in Sydney, the Network’s chief executive,
David Leckie, continues to make millions of dollars in unrealised
profits from exercising options from his first tranche of three
million, granted when he took up the job a couple of years ago.

Leckie converted
1.5 million options last April at $5 a share and yesterday (Thursday) another
one million options were converted to shares at $6 a share. The conversion was
detailed in this first announcement from Seven which doesn’t name Leckie and in this second announcement yesterday in which
he was named and the financing deal with Macquarie Bank via put and call options
was detailed.

That gives him a gross unrealised gain of around $2.4 million or so on the new
shares, based on the $8.38 price at the close
Thursday. Leckie
converted 1.5 million options earlier this year at $5, so he’s sitting on gross
unrealised profits on those shares of more than $5
million. His
total so far this calendar year is around $7.4 million or

it’s been the rise in the share price, following Seven’s ratings rebound, that
has allowed him to do this, although some in the market reckon the profits would
have been bigger if the C7 court case was not being run by Seven in the Federal Court.

Some reckon the Seven price would have been north of $9 a share, so Leckie should be having a quiet mutter when looking at
chairman, Kerry Stokes, whose really earning his money in his second week being
grilled by News Ltd counsel, Noel Hutley

Seven loses, the loses will be more than $100 million, which would put a dent in
both the Stokes fortune
(his Seven stake is worth around $800 million) and in Leckie’s evolving pile.

Leckie has half a
million options to convert from his first tranche and
shareholders will be asked at the annual meeting next month to approve the issue
of a further three million to the CEO.

Meanwhile, we will see next
Wednesday how healthy commercial TV is at the moment when the Ten Network
reports its 2005 result for the year to August.