Unlike the United States, Australia does not have a proud history of "greenmail". Well, that was until yesterday, when it was confirmed that Nicholas Bolton, the 27-year-old proprietor of Australian Style Investments has collected $4.5 million from Thiess to ‘sell’ his votes in yesterday's BrisConnections unit-holders meeting. A meeting which had been demanded by Bolton himself.
Bolton's greenmail attempt was a different play on the traditional corporate stand-over tactic. In the United States, "greenmailers" would traditionally acquire a large minority stake in a company (generally between 5 and 20%) which is subject to a takeover offer. The greenmailer would then threaten to vote against the deal (or perhaps pose as a "white knight" and offer to sell their shares back to the company). A successful green-mailer would later sell their shares for a premium to the prevailing share price.