THE NEWS WRAP: Fund manager buys stake in GraysOnline for $35 million

By James Thomson
Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Online auction house GraysOnline has cashed in on the popularity of internet retailers, selling a quarter of its business to fund manager Caledonia Investments in a deal believed to be worth about $35 million.


Gray’s shareholders, a group of 38 employees who bought into the company, each sold 25% of their shares. The deal valued the company at $140 million.


Best known for selling wine, Grays held its first online auction in 2000 and has experienced strong growth since. The company changed hands in 2005, with a refocus to operate online.


Grays’ CEO Cameron Poolman says it’s a good time to be in the online space.


“We’ve been doing it for 10 years and everyone now is trying to work out how to do it,” he says.


New Premier for Tasmania


Lara Giddings has been sworn in as Tasmania’s first female Premier, following the shock resignation of David Bartlett.


The decision came just 10 months after the last state election, which saw Labor cling to power with the support of five Green MPs.


Giddings will remain as Treasurer, a position she has held since December, while Bartlett will also remain in Cabinet as Attorney General and Justice Minister.


Giddings says her first priority will be fixing the state’s financial woes. Mid-year budget figures are expected to show a $200 million shortfall in GST revenue, while there has been speculation about public sector job cuts.


Woolworths reports Bunnings to ACCC


The heated battle between supermarket arch rivals Woolworths and West Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers, which owns Coles, is about to get even hotter, with revelations Woolworths has reported another Wesfarmers-owned chain, the Bunnings hardware business, to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.


Woolworths, which is set to start a rival chain to Bunnings later this year, says it wants the ACCC to look at supplier-related issues and issues concerning property development. According to the Australian Financial Review, Bunnings has been buying land which Woolworths had targeted for its stores.




The Australia dollar has jumped more than one cent to be at US99.89c in early trade, ahead of the release of inflation data later today.


Wall Street posted solid gains overnight, with the Dow Jones up 0.76% thanks to strong performances from IBM and Intel, which launched a $US10 billion share buyback overnight. Resources shares also performed well.


Yesterday, the Australian market closed in positive territory thanks to a strong performance from the financial sector. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 30.3 points, or 0.64% at 4,786.0 points.

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