MFS/Octaviar has officially reached rock bottom. The Herald Sun is reporting that shareholders now need to pay for someone to take their suspended Octaviar shares off their hands. Sydney company, Delisted, announced that MFS/Octaviar has been added to their list of stocks which they will purchase for $1 (less an $81 administration fee). What’s in it for long suffering MFS shareholders? They get to crystallize a tax loss before the end of the financial year (investors can only claim a tax loss if they sell their shares or administrators declare the company to be worthless). No word yet whether Michael King will take up the offer to pay for feed for his polo horses. — Adam Schwab

McDermott bowled out by cash woes. It has been a rapid fall from grace for former Australian Test cricketer, Craig McDermott. In 2005, McDermott graced the pages of BRW’s Young Rich list, alongside fellow sportsmen Lleyton Hewitt and Jarrod McCracken. McDermott wasn’t on the Rich List courtesy of his fast bowling heroics, but rather, a burgeoning property empire. However, McDermott won’t be reappearing on any lists in the near future, with the former Test champ filing for personal bankruptcy on 12 June 2008. News Limited papers noted that McDermott listed his occupation as “unemployed” on the National Personal Solvency Index. Despite his financial worries (McDermott is believed to owe upwards of $40 million), the bankruptcy hasn’t hampered McDermott’s lifestyle with Paul Weston noting that the former Young Rich Lister was “photographed last week driving a new Mercedes GL SUV as he left his five-bedroom mansion – valued at about $9 million – in the Gold Coast’s Runaway Bay.” — Adam Schwab

A BAD year is ending badly. The best news is that pundits are stumbling slowly to the truth. “Blame central bankers, not speculators for oil prices,” writes David Uren. He reports well the findings of a scholarly paper by 20 economists, including Amy Myers Jaffe and Mahmoud Amin El-Gamal, from Rice University in Texas. The study was supported by the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy. It traces the cycles of boom and bust in the oil market back to the “dawn of the oil age” in the middle of the 19th century. It contains the best analysis Henry has seen of the many dynamic interactions between monetary policy, asset inflation (including oil inflation) and goods and services inflation. Speculation is part of the unfolding story, but the study’s conclusions are damning with respect to monetary policy. “An honest assessment would look to the culpability of the world’s central banks in running loose monetary policy over the past decade. The slashing of US rates over the past six months in response to recession fears raises the prospect of one last inflationary wave of excess liquidity washing into world markets.” As to policy, “the unregulated creation of credit bubbles, perhaps more than any other factor, has the strongest potential to drive sudden and cataclysmic crises”. — Henry Thornton, The Australian

Babcock & Brown (B&B) is in the sights of US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, according to a British newspaper report. The UK’s Independent on Sunday said KKR had contacted sector specialists to find out more about the troubled investment house. It was rumoured that HSBC had done the same, the report said.  Quoting an unnamed industry source, the report said that KKR was interested in B&B because it needed to find assets for a global infrastructure fund, announced last month. A B&B spokesperson declined to comment on the KKR or HSBC rumours.  The spokesperson also declined to comment on the theory that it would be difficult for private equity to acquire B&B because staff own 43 per cent of the company. —

Then race is one — get your internet domain. When Internet regulators started gathering in the French capital last week for a global conference that starts here Monday, the marquee event was a quirky catwalk for cities and regions competing for domain names like .berlin, .paris, .quebec and even .cat — for Catalonia. The mighty dot, New York City boosters said, could transform the metropolis into “the master of its future,” with a .nyc label helping to build “trust, justice and civic pride.” Berlin supporters insisted that a super-dot would establish the city’s global reputation. Super or not, officials at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – the main oversight agency for the underpinnings of the Internet – said they were poised to bring the most dramatic change to the Internet in four decades by opening up domain names to endless variations. “We’re talking about introducing potentially thousands more names,” said Paul Levins, executive officer of Icann, the California-based nonprofit company that is the host of the Paris conference, which has drawn more than 1,300 delegates from 130 countries. “The addressing system hasn’t fundamentally changed since its invention. These changes have the potential to have a huge impact on the way we express ourselves on the Net.” — International Herald Tribune

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