Despite the masses of column centimetres devoted to the machinations at Fairfax since Greg Hywood’s company-transforming announcement last week, no one, especially no one writing at Fairfax, has explained exactly what went wrong at the once-fine instruction. While much focus has been given to the drying up of Fairfax’s "rivers of gold", it was the company’s continued digital failures and foolhardy offline acquisitions that have been the main reason for Fairfax’s share price dropping from $5.30 to only 58 cents.
Fairfax executives and board members have sat back and watched more than 80% of the value of the company evaporate. To compare -- in 2005, Gina Rinehart was worth $900 million and Fairfax was valued at about $7 billion. So Rinehart could have used all her wealth to buy less than 13% of Fairfax. She can now afford almost 30 Fairfaxes.