From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Mac Bank sale no big bonanza. The words Macquarie and “management buyout” will always generate interest, and news of the sale of Macquarie Investment Management Private Markets is no exception. Crikey is reliably informed the private equity fund of funds unit has been valued at some $12 million and the sale to management follows failed attempts to sell the business to a number of international buyers over the past 18 months.

Interest in the MIMPM business has apparently been limited due to the very low growth in the Australian business (no new clients in over two years), exceptionally low fees charged to its main Australian clients, and poor performance and low market share of its Asian private equity fund of funds. MIMPM made most but not all of its United States and European private equity teams redundant during 2013-14 to focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Is it true that at least one senior executive is receiving US$20,000 a month to do nothing, since MIMPM has no products to market in the US?

SA election: indies leaning Labor. The word from Adelaide is Labor is every chance of retaining government. The independents — ex-Lib Bob Such and conservative-minded country MP Geoff Brock — could stick with Premier Jay Weatherill if Labor stays ahead on the seat count, our sources were saying today.

The history is important. Such was dumped from the ministry in the ’90s, and locals remember the intense campaign levelled against him at the time — as someone noted to us today, the hatred remains. As for Brock: “He’s a former mayor of Port Pirie — about as working-class Labor as you can get. That’s where his mates and supporters live. He’ll also take Bob’s advice.”

The counting of pre-polls — of unprecedented volume; early voting booths opened on March 1 — started this morning. Nobody expects a final result any time soon.

No news on Nash’s page. Is Nationals Senator Fiona Nash censoring unwanted Facebook commentary? Probably; pollies would be crazy not to. But as one Crikey reader noted, Nash’s page is particularly rich with happy snaps but comparatively bare on the commentary feed. Of late, posts with a dozen or more comments only display a couple of supportive voices. A post about Nash’s visit to Temora received 40 comments but showed only four sympathetic ones, including “proud of you cuz.xx”. So what are the other 90% of commentators saying about Nash?

Qantas staff: keep quiet on Facebook. “Qantas has been trawling Facebook and cancelling staff travel benefits of people who have voiced their displeasure about the way the company is being managed,” writes one mole. Really? We haven’t heard from anyone directly impacted, but according to one staff representative nobody would be surprised. As the staff representative noted: “There’s a low level of trust between workforce and management at Qantas at present.” That might be an understatement. Know more? You know who to

Herald Sun more a free-for-all. According to one well-read Crikey reader: “The Herald Sun appears to have relaxed its paywall over the last week or so with more articles able to be accessed. Is this a response to declining hits?” Not that we’ve noticed; have you?

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Peter Fray

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