Packer, Paperlinx, Murdochs, women on boards, pokies, Manningham, AGMs, Rich ex wives, foreign takeover and much more

October 23, 2010

Dear Mayne Report Readers,

There's been plenty happening since our last major edition on October 14. The Paperlinx remuneration report got smashed yesterday with 68.1% of the voted shares going against, as The SMH reported today.

This was the third biggest defeat of all time and here's how the top 5 now appear on our master list of remuneration report protests:

1. Valad Property Group, 2008: 76.1% - huge protest against excessive pay to executives as company close to collapse.

2. Novogen, 2006: 72.5% - concern over termination benefits for executives and lack of performance hurdles on options. See The Age.

3. Paperlinx, 2010: 68.1% - concern over excessive payments to outgoing CEO Tom Park after years of poor performance.

4. Telstra, 2007: 66.18% - not enough performance hurdles or disclosure for Sol Trujillo's package.

5. AGL,
2007: 62.56% - Welshman Paul Anthony pocketed a ridiculous $17 million for 17 months work.

The Paperlinx coup was an interesting play by largest shareholder Orbis Investment Management which is regarded as one of the shrewdest active managers when it comes to pressuring issuers for change.

All those millions paid to outgoing CEO Tom Park were just way over the top and I'm feeling a tad vindicated given he indignantly confronted me after last year's AGM claiming his earlier $10 million payout from Southcorp was misrepresented.

In the end I decided not to go and hassle Paperlinx chairman and Manningham resident David Meiklejohn at yesterday's AGM, partly because we hosted him at a council function earlier this year celebrating his Australia Day gong.

David is in my ward and claims to have voted for me at the 2008 council election, so blowing him up again at a public company AGM wouldn't exactly be a good service to a supportive constituent.

That said, just to prove this isn't some "votes for silence" racket, it should be noted that David is also President of the Melbourne Cricket Club and there was an obvious line on the controversy about those 6000 empty seats in the members at the AFL Grand Final replay. It goes like this: "Mr chairman, if you can't even sell tickets to a grand final featuring Collingwood, what hope do us long suffering Paperlinx shareholders have?"

Paperlinx shares have plunged from a high of $5.37 in mid-2003 and yesterday closed at 46c.

After a $600 million write-down when its paper manufacturing assets were flogged to Nippon Paper in a fire sale last year, the balance sheet still looks a little stressed with debt of $300 million and a market capitalisation of just $260 million.

Meiklejohn: step down from Paperlinx and join Manningham which now has the "CFO of the year"

It really is time for David Meiklejohn to retire as Paperlinx chairman, although it was fellow director and former Orica CFO Jim Hall who copped the big 30% protest vote yesterday, perhaps reflecting his history with the Centro board as well.

David has been with the Paperlinx assets for more than 30 years and chairman since the 2000 Amcor demerger. Maybe the former Amcor finance director, who also still sits on the ANZ board, could run for Manningham council at the 2012 elections when he's got some more time on his hands.

He'd certainly have a better set of numbers to worth with at Manningham than Paperlinx.

Manningham CFO Rob Spargo was in Sydney today receiving the "public sector CFO of the year" award by Fairfax's CFO Magazine. With assets of $1.3 billion and $50 million in cash courtesy of Rob's conservative financial management over a long period, David Meiklejohn would have a strong balance sheet to work with as a future councillor.

Indeed, check out this just completed list measuring the net assets, debt and cash position of more than 20 Victorian councils in and around Melbourne. No wonder the Victorian Auditor-General rates us in the top 5 councils across the state for financial management.

Congratulations against to Rob Spargo and you can see who he was up against here.

Wrapping up the News Corp AGM coverage

James Murdoch presided over the BSkyB AGM in London last night but unfortunately this particular broadcasting company decided not to webcast its AGM to shareholders or interested parties who couldn't make it.

Rupert himself runs a more open operation at News Corp so you can listen to this 12 minute exchange we had with the Sun King at last Friday's News Corp AGM in New York.

After being stranded at LAX for two extra nights courtesy of stuff-ups by Delta Airways, the New York visit turned into a 6 day adventure and I missed my son's sixth birthday last Tuesday although the party is this weekend.

Whilst that sounds like a huge amount of time to invest for 12 minutes, the engagement itself was absolutely worthwhile. Here is some of what followed in a media sense:

Thursday, October 14
Mayne will be the main event on NY stage
The Age, Suzanne Carbon

Friday, October 15
AGM preview sent to Mayne Report subscribers

Saturday, October 16
Saturday AM - listen to Craig McMurtrie's coverage of the AGM for ABC news and current affairs

RRR Melbourne - on The Party Show with Bruce Guthrie, Andrew Crook and Headley Gritter post the News Corp AGM.

Subscriber edition sent out to those who have supported out activism by signing up for this $50 AGM season ticket accessible through the ad on the left hand side of our home page.

Monday, October 18
Chatted with Jon Faine on 774 ABC Melbourne from LAX Hilton. He played two audio grabs from the AGM webcast during interview.

Interview with Geoff Hutchison on 720 ABC Perth discussing the News Corp AGM

Wrote this story for Crikey summarising Rupert's worst ever AGM performance

Tuesday, October 18
How Rupert compares himself to Warren Buffet
Another Crikey story, this time drilling into the outrageous remuneration issues at News Corp.

There has also been widespread international coverage of the AGM as you can see from this package in our press room section.

News Corp audio breakdown

Unlike BSkyB, Rupert is to be commended for webcasting the News Corp gathering, like he does with every quarterly earnings result.

Listen here to the full 12 minutes of our exchange in one block. Also, here is the transcript which is fully linked up. And below is the chronological breakdown of the issues covered with Rupert:

Are you personally attending Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington on October 30?

Have you read Bruce Guthrie's new book Man Bites Murdoch, if not, here is a copy for you to read on the plane to Australia next week

Have you or any of the directors read Bruce Dover's book, Rupert's Adventures in China?

You turn 80 next March and are the longest serving CEO in the world at 57 years, so what are your plans?

What is your view about the phone bugging scandal in the UK? Did you read the 5000 word piece in The New York Times?

How has the code of ethics been followed considering the phone tapping incident in the UK?

Did you meet the new British PM within 24 hours of entering office as The Mirror reported this morning?

What are your views about Matthew Freud's attack on Fox News on behalf of some of your family?

Are you 100% comfortable with Mr Beck's comments on Fox News?

Why not be like Warren Buffett and work for $US100,000 rather than get bagged by proxy advisers for being overpaid?

Do you think you will reinstate the Adelaide meetings?

Well done for firing Glenn Milne.


The Guthrie message to Rupert

Crikey first ran this image on August 14. It's the personal note that Bruce Guthrie wrote for Rupert inside the cover of his Man Bites Murdoch memoir. Unfortunately, Rupert appeared to leave the Hudson Theatre without taking the book with him, so his trip to Australia this week won't be nearly as informed as it could be.

Cornwall on Guthrie tome


* Finally, check out this package detailing our 10 different engagements with Rupert at various shareholder meetings since 1999, including the 2007 shareholder resolution opposing the dual class voting structure which was supported by 60% of the independent shareholders voting $5 billion worth of stock.

Women on boards update

It was a shame to get stranded for two days in LA because I missed the AGM of salary packaging outfit McMillan Shakespeare which is another of those all male boards. You can see the full list from this AGM diary and we've italicised those companies with no female directors.

The name and shame approach seems to be quite effective and it was good to see Metcash got itself removed from our list of male only boards when Fiona Balfour was appointed last week.

Unfortunately, we haven't had a big response to this special update sent to almost 1000 corporate women last week calling for volunteers to help hit the all-bloke boards during this current AGM season.

Whilst Catherine Deveny is yet to volunteer we did warn the JB Hi Fi board last week that they were vulnerable to a board tilt or consumer boycott call from feral feminists such as Catherine if they didn't end their all male approach to corporate power. Catherine immediately started following out tweets as you can too by clicking here.

I also heard a Big Four accounting partner tell an audience yesterday that she's told her children not to shop at JB Hi Fi as a protest against their male dominant corporate culture. The times are a changing, that's for sure.

Three more women on boards AGM transcripts

We've now packaged up the transcripts and audio from the recent CSL, JB Hi Fi and Amcor AGMs where we went in hard on board diversity and pay parity. Check out the following, all of which were done in less than an hour. Indeed, we only managed to spend about 5 minutes at each of CSL and Amcor:

Amcor AGM October 21, 2010
Asked just two questions about webcasting the AGM debate and asked whether their was anything in the managing director's incentive arrangements to address the dreadful record Amcor has when it comes to gender diversity in the executive ranks and at board level.

CSL AGM October 13, 2010
Listen to audio criticising female chair Elizabeth Alexander for failing to get other women into the top ranks. Read transcript

JB Hi Fi AGM October 13, 2010
A solid work out on the diversity issue which the chair had not planned to mention at all. Listen to audio, read transcript, see Mayne Report, see Lateline Business story and video below:

Comings and goings on the female board circuit

The biggest development on the appointments front relates to Tabcorp where it's demerger proposal has unveiled Paula Dwyer would lead the traditional wagering business.

This will put her into the big league as a prominent female chair along with Catherine Livingstone at Telstra, Belinda Hutchison at QBE, Elizabeth Bryan at Caltex and Elizabeth Alexander at CSL.

Here are some other recent appointments and we've updated our list ranking the top female directors accordingly:

Fiona Balfour: effective November 25, 2010, Fiona will be on the board of Metcash. Fiona was previously with Qantas and was CIO of Telstra before leaving after only 10 months.

Shirley In't Veld: taking effect from 1 November 2010. Shirley is currently the Managing Director of WA's leading energy producer Verve Energy. Shirley is the former Managing Director of Alcoa Australia Rolled Products.

Diane Smith-Gander: was appointed to the Board of Transfield Services with effect from 22 October 2010.

Lucy Turnbull: the former Sydney mayor and wife of former Liberal party leader Malcolm Turnbull, was been appointed the new chairman of cancer treatment biotech company Prima BioMed in October 2010. She is also on the board of Melbourne IT.

Top female executives in ASX200

We have gone through every company in the ASX200 to update this list of top female executives. We found that 61 companies have neither female executives or female board members, achieving 'double zero' status. These entries are highlighted in yellow and include the likes of
AWB, West Australian, Newspapers, JB Hi-Fi, Boart Longyear, Leighton, The Reject Shop and Unsurprisingly, the list is well populated with many miners and resource companies.

The Reject Shop's chairman promised to add some diversity to the board at the AGM on Wednesday, although there was no opportunity to press him on it because I wasn't on the register and had to duck out for the regular ABC radio spot with Lindy Burns where they duly got a mention.

As part of a forum at The Windsor hotel with a group called "women in finance", I crunched the numbers on the top female directors and noticed that the finance industry provided 13 of the top 22 female directors.

However, there is not exactly a large number of female CFOs in the ASX200. Indeed, only 9 if you look through this list although at least it is more than the number of chairs or CEOs.

In other developments, we're still getting a lot of feedback about this speech to more than 1000 women at the Melbourne Town Hall earlier this month, which apparently ran somewhere on ABC TV recently, according to the manager of our local pizza restaurant last night:

And here is an interesting story worth reading as well:

Plenty of Suits and Ties at Annual Women's Business Forum
By Katrin Bennhold, The New York Times, October 18, 2010

Whilst in the US this week, there was also a Wall Street Journal article on a new book which claimed something like 22 of the 25 Fortune 500 companies who have had female CEOs were mothers as well. So much for the old cliche that you have to choose one or the other, Julia Gillard style.

Around the grounds on the pokies

First up in the anti-pokies wrap, check out this cracking speech that Senator Nick Xenophon delivered to the pokies industry at a conference in Melbourne last week:

It's almost as good as this magnificent effort to the industry at a conference in Sydney two years ago.

And here are a few relevent links in the ongoing campaign to end Australia's notorious status as the world's biggest per capita gamblers with the majority, approximately $10 billion a year, lost on the pokies:

The Andrew Wilkie and Julia Gillard agreement

The AFR ran a story yesterday suggesting the agreement could be under pressure because of a serious push-back coming out of NSW. Just like with NSW opting out of national deals on occupational health and safety laws, we only need to wait for the change of government in NSW next March.

Whilst the Victorian government refuses to move on the pokies, it has formally identified the link between parent problem gambling and child prevalence. See page 194 of this report where they suggest that children seeing their parents gamble should be discouraged.

There was another spate of marketing to children at pokie pubs over the last school holidays in Victoria yet neither major party has suggested any remedy. At least the VCGR will now take this into account in new applications.

McGauran family cleared, Mildura struggling and other pokies snippets

We heard back from the acting senior investigator of the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation (VCGR) this week who said they would not prosecute the McGauran family's pokies venue in North Altona because no one got the names and addresses of the two 15 year old girls who admitted being on the gaming floor of the Miller's Inn for about 10 minutes.

But don't let anyone tell you the complaint wasn't taken seriously because a whopping 46 hours of security footage was reviewed. Senator Julian McGauran will no doubt be relieved he won't have to deal with the approbrium of official sanctions.

In other developments, we understand the proposed Mildura casino clearly does not have bipartisan support in Mildura and will struggle to get off the ground. It is a reversal on the statewide pokies cap.

And check out this recent post from the pokies blog discussing the campaign recently launched by Clubs Australia against the Gillard-Wilkie agreement on pre-commitment technology.

If you need a reminder of what's to come, listen to this audio from The National Interest on ABC Radio National when Senator Nick Xenophon crossed swords with Clubs Australia director Anthony Ball. There's going to plenty more like this given the rearguard action now being launched by the clubs.

Meanwhile, check out the latest from Paul Bendat's Pokieact website and this package of our past pokies coverage.

Ferrier Hodgson has also released this interesting newsletter on the Victorian pokies scene.

Finally, have a look a this video commenting on the addiction of pokies. Players dream of winning which motivates their behavior, and then that dream is reinforced and maintained by the operators with promises of riches. The reality is that whilst dreaming they don't realise the goal of riches is, and will always be, just out of reach.

Spend $50 for a season's ticket that helps keeps the directors and pollies honest

The coming weeks will be a very interesting time with the Australian AGM season and the Victorian election but things like flying to New York to tackle Rupert don't come cheap.

The Mayne Report shifted to a free model in early 2009 but we are partially returning to a paid model for the rest of 2010.

Sign up for a $50 AGM season ticket and you will get exclusive email updates on the various battles as 1600 Australian public companies hold their AGMs and the Victorian election unfolds.

Subscribers have already been told about some of our targets for the AGM season, action from the AFIC AGM, the Murdoch engagement and the hit list of all male boards that we'd like to engage with. There'll be a big piece next week about our plans for the Victorian election campaign, where I'll be contesting in the Northern Metropolitan upper house region.

If you'd like to support robust political and shareholder activism and get an inside look at what should be a fascinating period, click here to purchase your season ticket that will take you through until the end of 2010.

The Cornwall collection

Former Fairfax and Crikey cartoonist Mark Cornwall has been contributing to The Mayne Report since March 2009. Here is a collection of his best cartoons and check out his latest animation:



Get on board with the Australian Shareholders Association

I'll be working more closely with the ASA this AGM season, even attending a couple of gatherings as the formal ASA monitor.

There is clearly more impact working in numbers so readers of this newsletter are encouraged to click on the image below and support the ASA.

The big debt issues continue under hung parliament

It was very strange to hear Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens make the following statement during the federal election campaign: "There is virtually no net public debt in the country at all in contrast to much of the developed world."

Whilst Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper Down Under, The Australian, loves to beat up on Labor governments irrespective of the facts sometimes, this recent splash pointing out that state government debt is projected to top $240 billion was a worthwhile piece of journalism.

On top of that figure, the Federal Government's own debt management website puts the gross debt figure at $152 billion and the bond issues continue to come as follows since our last edition:

Friday, October 22, 2010: $700m tender of 2 year bonds expiring in November 2012 were sold for an average yield of 4.9% and was over-subscribed 3.8 times.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010: $500m tender of 7 year bonds expiring in February 2017 were sold for an average yield of 5.04% and was over-subscribed 3.6 times.

Friday, October 15, 2010: $700m tender of 6 year bonds expiring in May 2016 were sold for an average yield of 4.97% and was over-subscribed 2 times.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010: $500m tender of 12 year bonds expiring in July 2022 were sold for an average yield of 5.09% and was over-subscribed 3.3 times.

Friday, October 8, 2010: $700m tender of 3 year bonds expiring in May 2013 were sold for an average yield of 4.91% and was over-subscribed 3.5 times.

If anyone needs assistance on the debt questions, this list tracks all bond and treasury note issues by the Labor Government since it was elected in November 2007. However, there are many other variables to measure for a true picture of national solvency. For instance, the massive level of foreign ownership in Australia, as demonstrated by this list, reduces the fiscal flexibility of our public sector.

The Mayne Report Rich List - enter the ex wives

BRW magazine does a great job with its various Australian Rich Lists but we've broadened their efforts to track any Australian who has ever been worth more than $10 million. We began the process of building the list in early 2008 where we had an initial 327 names. Now, after much research, we've got more than 1500 names with those who've fallen back below $10 million italicised. Below are two new entries courtesy of an article in The AFR yesterday and apologies we don't have full names as yet:

Mrs Grill: the former wife of the billionaire CEO of Worley Parsons reportedly sold 8 million shares worth more than $150 million this week.

Mrs Ellison: the former wife of the Mineral Resources founder reportedly benefitted when the Perth-based mining mogul sold $36 million worth of shares on October 8.

The AFR also mentioned the ex wife of Coca Cola Amatil CEO Terry Davis although it appears unlikely she scored $10 million. It was surprising in a Street Talk column item focusing on CEO share sales driven by divorces that the announcement related to Fairfax CEO Brian McCarthy's divorce last year wasn't included. That sort of self-censorship is all a bit Murdochesque.

A mixed time punting the market

Firstly, check out all the trades so far this year. This is how things looked as of October 22, 2010: portfolio of 656 holdings worth $33,591. Overall paper loss of $12,940 and average holding worth $51. Below are the latest outcomes from various capital raising plays;

October 11
MacArthur Coal: $30,000 into two cracks at $15,000 SPP at $11.33. Exited at $13.20 for gain of $4900.

October 11
Ampella Mining: $5000 into SPP at $1.95. Scaled back to $3086 and exited at $2.43 for gain of $750.

October 18
MEC Resources: $8,000 into 1-for-10 entitlement offer at 50c with overs. Got the lot and exited at 52c for gain of $300.

October 18
Premium Investors: $7500 into SPP at 5% discount to VWAP. Priced at 72c and exited at 74.6c for gain of $250.

We're currently maxed out completely applying for various capital raising plays which are listed at the bottom of this list tracking all plays since the beginning of last year.

More Cornwall on the Mad Monk


Donate to help keep us going

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James Packer's media play - Mark Day bags our "conspiracy theories"

I took a call from former Crikey editor Jonathan Green on Wednesday asking for a piece about James Packer that he could run on the ABC's opinion website, The Drum, which he's been editing for the past year.

Given Crikey publisher Eric Beecher's recent attack on the ABC in The Australian for launching The Drum, the timing of this request was interesting.

But what the heck, I'm a freelancer and The Drum pays better than Crikey, so why not share the commentary around. It would have been nice for Crikey to help finance some of the $3000 spent taking it to Rupert in New York, but it wasn't to be and we still filed a couple of pieces for them.

Anyway, Jonathan left a voicemail saying he was very happy with the James Packer piece and you can read it here:

How a TV station represents political insurance
ABC, The Drum, October 21, 2010

This article generated more than 20 comments and when we trotted out the same thesis on ABC Adelaide about James Packer taking out some insurance to protect his soon to be expanded casino expire, Murdoch commentator Mark Day promptly went on air and declared I was dealing in "conspiracy theories". Have a listen here.

Some similar territory was covered in the regular spot on 774 ABC Melbourne last Wednesday and you can also see what SBS put to air on Thursday night below:

SBS World News October 20, 2010

The full interview with SBS about James Packer is available here.

Fun and games at Manningham

As usual, there's never a dull moment at Manningham Council.

After another two 5-4 votes against officer advice at the September council meeting, it was time to put what I thought was clear factional bloc voting on the public record and did so through a story headlined "Sinister alliance denied" in the Manningham Leader last week.

This followed an earlier Crikey story.

It was absolutely right and proper that Labor mayor Charles Pick took a swing back on these issues and his chosen line was that I was "Manningham's Mark Latham".

Indeed, the page 11 lead story was headlined 'Cr Mayne labelled a 'Latham'.

The two most interesting paragraphs were this quote from mayor Pick:

"Cr Mayne is very difficult to deal with because he never discusses his issues with the council but has a hissy fit and posts a 'dear diary' all over the web."

We then had this in the final paragraph: "Cr Graeme MacMillan said allegations of a five-four voting alliance were untrue."

That's funny, I distinctly remember having a long argument ("never discusses issues"???) with both of them last year about the future of our nursing home, run by the Manningham Centre Association, which ended with Cr MacMillan standing over me and saying rather aggressively: "I'll tell you why: 5-4," complete with full demonstrative finger illustration at close range.

The agenda for next Tuesday night's council meeting was placed on the Manningham web site yesterday and we've got a clear cut recommendation from our professional officers that we negotiate a new management agreement with the MCA.

This followed a $100,000 review by accountants Grant Thornton and most of their comprehensive report is on the agenda.

Cr MacMillan has been obsessed with ridding council of its nursing home for many years. We've spent more time on the issue than anything else. He's previously said "reform" would happen because of 5-4. The mayor got his vote for a second term last year partly on a promise to deliver "aged care reform".

Now everyone is saying there is no such thing as 5-4. We'll see what happens on the floor of the council next Tuesday night when we consider all the professional advice and take a decision on the future of MCA.

* Disclosure: I'm a council-appointed director of the MCA and will be probably be moving the officer recommendation next Tuesday.

An attempt to open up Manningham for oral questions from the public

Subject to a minor change, the mayor has promised to second this motion which is on the agenda for Tuesday's council meeting:

Notice of motion from Cr Stephen Mayne for the October 26 council meeting:

In light of the following finish times for public council meetings in 2010:

September 28: 10.49pm

August 31: 11.27pm.

July 27: 11.15pm

June 29: 11.59pm.

May 25: 10.45pm

March 30: 11.57pm

February 2: 11.20am

Council resolves that:

A. changes are made so that residents do not have to sit around for hours waiting to have written questions from the public read out by officers at the end of public council meetings.

B. The new format will allow oral, unscripted questions from the public;

C. The precise detail of the format will be proposed by whoever is Manningham mayor in 2011, after consultation with council colleagues, officers and any regular attendees at council meetings who would like to have input.

D. The changes won't take effect until the first council meeting in 2011.

E. These changes are separate from a forthcoming review of Manningham's meeting procedures and no further one-off changes to the meetings procedures will be contemplated before that review is completed in 2011.

Given that many other councils allow oral questions at the start of council meetings, it will be a shame if this modest change is defeated next Tuesday. We'll let you hear the audio of the debate and detail how the councillors voted in our next edition.
Spanish Sunrice takeover triggers radio interest

The $600 million Spanish bid for Leeton-based rice co-operative Sunrice triggered some interest from commercial radio. Have a listen to the 9 minute discussion with Steve Liebmann on 2UE Sydney. He's clearly worried about all these foreign takeovers but we both stopped well short of suggesting they should be blocked.

Fellow Fairfax radio station, 6PR in Perth, then followed up and we had this shorter chat in the afternoon.

With only about 80 Australian companies generating more than $200 million a year offshore, this list detailing the 250-plus foreign companies generating more than $200 million out of Australia always generates plenty of interest when these deals emerge.

Click on the link below to get the latest radio and AGM audio:

More gems from Mark Cornwall


Tales from the talk circuit

It was most unfortunate to have to pull out as the guest speaker at the AUDA internet industry awards on Monday night courtesy of Delta's inability to deliver its passengers to destinations as contracted. “The Awards were established to recognise initiatives that have embraced the possibilities presented by the Internet – to reach out to a community of users, to improve security or to make useful information available online” said AUDA CEO, Chris Disspain. Check out some winners below and here is the full list of winners:

Security Category

Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT)

Openness Category
CanTeen - What Now Initiative

Youth Category
Cassandra Fraser-Bell - Darwin City Council: GRIND Initiative

Sign up for campaign and governance Tweets

Click on the image above to join almost 2600 followers on Twitter, including Sandra Sully who signed up yesterday. Here are some of the more recent Tweets since the last edition:

2.50pm October 22: Congratulations to Manningham CFO Rob Spargo winning CFO mag's CFO of the year in public sector award. With $50m of cash he's done well.

11.19am October 22: Lively discussion with 2UE's Steve Liebmann about foreign ownership after $600m Spanish Sunrice bid. Listen here:

4.55pm October 21: 891 ABC Adelaide discussing James Packer & Ten Network including Mark Day's comments labeling me a conspiracy theorist

2.45pm October 21: Just spoke to snr investigator at VCGR. Sen McGauran's pokies venue won't be prosecuted as didn't get details of 15yo girls on gaming floor.

11.59am October 21: On SBS news last night discussing James Packer's foray back into commercial tv

11.56am October 21: Our contribution to The Drum about understanding Packer's extraordinary $300m plunge back into free-to-air television.

m October 21: 774 ABC Melbourne - discussing James Packer, women on boards and the News Corp AGM

12.15pm October 20: Landed in Melbourne at 11.45am after nice biz flight. Big arvo with Reject Shop AGM, chat with SBS about Packer and regular ABC radio spot.

10.31am October 20: In transit over the Pacific, but check out this interview on RRR radio in Melbourne talking about the News Corp AGM

10.15am October 20: Interesting angle on Packer Ten share raid is that he did it privately and not through ConsMedia so doesn't force Stokes to sell out of CMJ.

2.35pm October 19: Crikey story today on Murdoch's Buffett salary comments:

2.29pm October 19: Missing QT but at least Delta feeling guilty about 2 day delay in LA so upgraded to business. Leaving in 100 mins after 3 hours in lounge.

7.23pm October 18: Had a chat with Jon Faine this morning on 774 ABC Melbourne about the News Corp AGM.

6.19pm October 18: Delta oversold so stuck in LA for 2nd night, but now in Crowne Plaza. Will miss important council briefing Tuesday night. Very annoying.

2.17pm October 18: A $6 meal voucher from Delta doesn't go far when dinner at LAX Hilton costs $US28. Off to airport now with a full belly.

1.14pm October 18: Crikey ran 900 word account of NewsCorp AGM:

1.12pm October 18: Interview on 720 ABC Perth from LA discussing the #NewsCorp AGM on Friday

10.15am October 18: Miserable day here in LA. Visibility low at 4pm out window of LAX Hilton. Doing ABC Perth on Rupert in 2 hours and filing for Crikey now.

7.58am October 18: Full linked up transcript and audio of 12 minutes with Rupert available here:

7.03am October 18: About to do ABC radio with Jon Faine on Murdoch. Listen live here:

3.21pm October 17: Missed connecting flight out of LA so holed up in LAX Hilton and will be no show for internet awards speech on Monday night at Crown. Damn.

8.47am October 16: a good colour piece on News AGM:

1.27am October 16: Asked lots of questions at the NewsCorp AGM in NY, and presented Rupert with Bruce Guthrie's new book Man Bites Murdoch.

9.14pm October 15: Only got 4 hours sleep until 1.20am New York time. Now 7.10am, News Corp AGM is 10am, have read all the papers and reasonably ready to go.

9.07am October 15: Just checked in to New York Hotel. Been awake for 24 hours so about to sleep for 12 then get up for News Corp AGM at 10am NY time.

10.29am October 15: sent out a bumper edition this morning before boarding for NY. Great toons and coverage of gender diversity on boards

4.23am October 15: Arrived at Melbourne Airport on 3 hours sleep with 24 hr trip to New York ahead for NewsCorp AGM. Age/SMH gossip columns ran Guthrie book item

11.27am October 14: Gang of 5 manifesto at council now on record:

1.30pm October 13: Back from CSL and JB Hi Fi AGMs pushing gender issue. Told JB "feral feminist Catherine Deveny" might run for board in 2011 if remain blokey

4.52pm October 12: Metcash appoints Fiona Balfour to board. Now only 93 ASX200 cos on shame file:

That's all for now.

Do ya best, Stephen Mayne

* The Mayne Report is a multi-media governance website published by shareholder activist, local government councillor and Crikey founder Stephen Mayne with regular email editions. To unsubscribe, click here.