Oz Media Tycoon Stokes Denies Newspaper Takeover Ambitions

21 March 2008

PYRMONT, NSW: Multimillionaire Kerry Stokes (pictured), chairman of Australia's Seven Media Group, ducked allegations that he seeks to gain control of the West Australian Newspapers board by ousting its present non-executive members, as reported earlier this week.

Speaking via a minion, as befits a tycoon of Stokes' stature, he neither denied nor confirmed an interest in extending his authority to WAN – despite the fact that after buying a 19.9% stake in Seven some twelve years ago he employed board-busting tactics to become its executive chairman.

Asked if Stokes is using similar tactics with WAN, the magnate's henchman Peter Gammell was blandness personified: "I understand the proposition, but I suppose we would say in response we don't control Seven, even today.

"We do sit there as a very interested supportive shareholder [in WAN] and we do think we have added significant value to that company."

Or as the late movie tycoon Sam Goldwyn reportedly said: "I'll give you a positive maybe."

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff