THE NEWS WRAP: James Packer cashes in his blue chips

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Gaming magnate James Packer has sold his stakes in jobs website Seek and financial management firm Magellan Financial Group for a combined total of total of $261 million.

 

The move is aimed at reducing debt at his private company, with the Crown executive chairman claiming a $150 million profit on the sale.

 

“I respect both companies and their CEOs, Andrew Bassat (Seek) and Hamish Douglas (Magellan), immensely and I am selling to reduce debt in CPH (Consolidated Press Holdings),” Packer says.

 

Flying low: Air Asia profit nosedives by 62%

 

Asia’s largest low-cost carrier by fleet size, Air Asia, has reported a 62% drop in net profit to 58.35 million ringgit ($19.69 million) in the quarter to June 30.

 

The fall came despite a 5.5% increase in revenue during the quarter, with high aviation fuel costs and foreign exchange losses on borrowings blamed for the result.

 

“Our traffic numbers show that the Air Asia brand is strong and that we are still able to stimulate demand and retain loyalty among our existing passengers through our low fares and extensive network across the region,” chief executive Tony Fernandes says.

 

Surf’s up for rival bidders despite Billabong court decision

 

Hedge funds Centerbridge Partners and Oaktree Capital are considering launching a takeover bid for Billabong, following an appeal to the Takeovers Panel that forced Altamont to renegotiate its refinancing offer to the troubled surfwear retailer.

 

After the US hedge funds launched the appeal, Altamont and Billabong renegotiated key terms of the financing arrangement, including slashing the break fee from 20% of $325 million to just $6 million, and allowing a new owner to repay the loan at a 1% premium (rather than 10%) in the event of a takeover.

 

The Takeovers Panel has refused to make a ruling as a result of the revised terms, but says it would have found in favour of the US hedge funds had the deal not been renegotiated.

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down to 14897.55. The Aussie dollar is up to US89.79 cents.

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