Having recently bought 435 shares in Macquarie Radio Network at the relatively cheap price of $1.15-a-share, I was most disturbed to discover that ACMA’s guilt verdict against Alan Jones will cost the company “a tonne of money”.

Controlling shareholder John Singleton made the disclosure in a rambling interview with The Australian today in which he backed the Parrot’s vicious sprays against the broadcasting regulator.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman, a former CEO of the Seven Network and Babcock & Brown Infrastructure, should take away the 2GB licence rather than cop this offensive abuse.

 

Singo also clearly doesn’t understand the ASX rules on continuous disclosure because MRN is yet to make any announcements about the finding to the market. Surely “a tonne of money” is material to a small cap company valued at $113 million which made a profit of just $3.28 million in the December half-year.

The amazing thing about Jones is the people who are prepared to associate with him. The PM’s appalling endorsement is predictable but how can Kevin Rudd not see a problem? C’mon Kev, show a bit of spine.

James Packer might “pick ‘n stick” with the Parrot, but Channel Nine wouldn’t dare run a campaign against Federal Labor when they’ve got casino licences beholden to state Labor governments in Victoria and WA.

And what does a respected figure like Max Donnelly, Alan Bond’s bankruptcy trustee, think about chairing a company that relies on someone for profits who, it is alleged, helped incite the Cronulla riots? What does Mark Carnegie think about being the second biggest shareholder? At least STW chairman Russell Tate quit the MRN board this week.

Alan Jones should have been banned from radio after the cash for comment affair of 1999. Instead, he was afforded political and media protection by the Packers and John Howard and now we’ve got even more outrageous indiscretions.

Jones turns 64 tomorrow and is desperately lurching after one final pay day through his 11.25 million MRN options, which are exercisable at 22.4c and showing a profit of $12.78 million based on the last trade of $1.36.

BRW reckons Singo is worth $290 million but the largest chunk of that is tied up in his 55.35 million MRN shares. No wonder they are both going bananas as the prospects recede of a big pay day from the new media ownership laws.

Peter Fray

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