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Rinehart issues Fairfax threat

Rinehart issues Fairfax threat

Tue June 26, 2012 3:55pm

MINING magnate Gina Rinehart says her company Hancock Prospecting may sell its interest in Fairfax Media if "suitable conditions" aren't offered to it.

Shares fell nearly five per cent to 54.3c at 10.30 AEST before closing at 55c.

In a written response to ABC TV on behalf of Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd (HPPL), Ms Rinehart said she had hoped to be a saviour to Fairfax, which had witnessed the declining circulation of its three major mastheads for the past five years.

"Fairfax share price has also declined significantly, some approximately 90 per cent,'' Ms Rinehart said.

"HPPL had hoped that Mrs Rinehart may be viewed by the (Fairfax) Board as a successful business person and a necessary `white knight' with mutual interest in a sustainable Fairfax.''

The multi-billionaire has previously confirmed she has an 18.7 per cent stake in the media company and would have to launch a formal takeover offer if her holding went above 19.9 per cent.

She is believed to be seeking three seats on the Fairfax board and the right to make editorial decisions, including on the hiring and firing of editors.

But in the response posted on ABC online on Monday, Ms Rinehart said unless a director position was offered "without unsuitable conditions'' HPPL would be unable to help Fairfax.

"HPPL may hence sell its interest, and may consider repurchasing at some other time,'' she said.

When asked about her role hiring the conservative News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt for a talk show on Channel 10, she said his program was ``very popular in country areas''.

"Unfortunately many country areas are unable to receive Channel 10.''

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