Whatever’s on the mind of media and mining mogul Kerry Stokes, a bid for Fairfax is clearly the farthest thing from it. In the past fortnight we’ve had news of a $400 million-odd play for distressed oil and gas explorer Nexus Energy by Seven Group Holdings, and now a mooted 200-300-pound bid for Britain’s bottom-ranked free-to-air TV network, Channel 5, by Seven West Media.
Going by recent share price movements, the market is not enthused by either deal. Stokes’ empire is like a pyramid, topped by the wholly owned, unlisted Australian Capital Equity, which owns two-thirds of the listed Seven Group Holdings, which in turn owns one-third of the listed Seven West Media, owner of the country’s leading free-to-air TV network. It’s fair to say the most risk is in the bottom layer, where less of Stokes’ wealth is tied up.