Should all statements from media companies now come with a disclaimer, something about not really believing what’s in the statement, because the situation is under review?
The thought comes to mind after Fairfax Media went into a trading halt this morning, at the company’s request.
Its general counsel, veteran Fairfax insider Gail Hambly, said in a statement: “The reason for the trading halt is that Fairfax is currently considering capital management initiatives.”
She said Fairfax wanted the halt to last until Monday March 2. She said the company wanted the halt to give it time to be able to comment on the matter.
The company last traded at 93 cents, just above its all-time low of 91.5 cents reached earlier this week.
It was only on Monday that Fairfax reported big cuts in asset values and lower trading profits, and assured people asking that there was no interest in a capital raising.
In fact new CEO, Brian McCarthy, repeated on Monday there were no plans for such a move, but left a door open by saying the company was keeping the matter under constant review.
Does that mean that three days is now a review?
Media reports on Tuesday about the Fairfax results reported similar comments from the company and senior executives.
And then there’s the rather more adament responsde Fairfax gave to the market when capital rasign speculation was rife in early February.
As the Sydney Morning Herald online reported on February 4:
Fairfax Media, publisher of this website, said it has no need to raise equity, but was keeping its options open.
Speculation it was lining up a capital raising had helped to drive its shares down 19 percent over the past week and sparked a share price query from the Australian Securities Exchange.
It said, based on its cash on hand and bank facilities, it had no need to refinance debt before 2011.
Which goes to show that three weeks is a long time in media.