Oz Newspaper Group Prepares to Repel Boardroom Boarders

19 March 2008

PERTH: Substituting for the piratical Jolly Roger in West Australian Newspapers' worst nightmares is the decidedly un-jolly figure of Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven Media Group and wannabe intruder into WAN's boardroom.

WAN chairman Peter Mansell cautions that if Stokes is successful, it could cost shareholders "potentially hundreds of millions of dollars".

Stokes, whose company owns 19.4% of WAN but is unrepresented on its board, is demanding that WAN ousts all non-executive directors and appoint him and his henchman Peter Gammell in their place – effectively ceding control of the company.

"As far as the non-executive directors are concerned, [Mr Stokes's] personality, his experience, his influence and his voting power make it inevitable that he will assume effective control either immediately or over time," Mansell warned investors at a briefing in Sydney.

This would enable Stokes to seize WAN's wheel without paying a takeover premium, effectively depriving stockholders of between $3-$3.50 per share.

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