You’d think that after spending more than $100 million on a seemingly quixotic legal battle against its big media competitors, regaining the ratings and revenue lead from Nine in the intensely competitive commercial TV market, that there’d be at least one question from shareholders at this morning’s Seven Network AGM. Or a note of congratulations.

Equally with a proposal to lift directors fees by half a million dollars a year to $1.5 million plus another resolution seeking approval for the issuing of two million options to a director, you could expect at least a mild query.

And considering executive chairman, Kerry Stokes revealed a 45% rise in first half earnings was in prospect, not to mention the purchase of a 14.9% stake in West Australian newspapers, you’d think someone would be mildly intrigued.

Nope, not a single question or comment from around 40 shareholders who showed up in Sydney this morning.

Stokes was reticent after the meeting, especially about reports that News Ltd would pay $150 million for FPC’s magazines business (which is owned by the Sydney Hannan family). Seven were an under bidder if the report is correct.

So the non-executive directors got their pay rise, chief legal and business strategist, Bruce McWilliam, got his two million options approved and the four directors up for re-election were returned unopposed and un-questioned. Amazing!

Seven shares bounced 40c to $9.72 just before 11.30am. Perhaps that’s the answer to the lack of questioning but it was still pathetic.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey