Australia’s biggest investment banking rainmaker, Macquarie Bank’s Nicholas Moore, is a man who hates media attention, which makes his presence on the Macquarie Media board particularly ironic.
Poor Nicholas was so bruised by the mauling he received at the hands of Alan Jones in 2002, that he has now become obsessively private, to the point of being utterly deluded about how the media operates. The latest Macquarie Bank annual report contains not one picture of a banker.
Nicholas privately blames Macquarie’s truckloads of publicity on his spindoctors, who he thinks chatter too much to journalists. Truth be known, the Macquarie spinners aren’t known for being particularly helpful on the scoop front and I’m not aware of any injudicious stories leaking out
Nicholas needs to wake up to the reality that if you buy Thames Water for $20 billion, try to buy the London Stock Exchange, attempt an audacious privatisation bid for Qantas and become the world’s biggest direct manager and operator of assets, the media is going to crank up the attention.
Moore’s moaning about not getting enough credit for Macquarie’s global successes is more understandable. After the recent hiccups at Qantas, we’re back into the old work rate of about two deals a week.
On Monday, Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group announced the $1.7 billion acquisition of Global Tower Partners, a large US telecommunications infrastructure business and then yesterday Macquarie Media shelled out more than $800 million to become the biggest player in regional television.
Interestingly, Macquarie Media is chaired by the PM’s old mate and departmental boss Max Moore-Wilton. Former Children’s Services minister Larry Anthony is on the board and the Macquarie empire is now regional Australia’s most powerful player in electronic media.
I wonder if the Howard Government will attempt to apply a little bit of pressure when the election is on – or maybe even extract some discounted advertising rates. Ron Walker was the master at doing that with the biggest metro commercial radio network, Austereo, during the early Howard years.
And as owner of one of the two commercial television stations in Darwin, what will Macquarie Media think about coverage of John Howard’s radical Indigenous intervention?
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At least Macquarie Media is not controlled by a billionaire. The rest of the Australian media is now in the hands of seven of them: James Packer, Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Stokes, Tony O’Reilly, John Malone, Bruce Gordon and John B Fairfax.