Rinehart to mine Fairfax shares

By By Erin Smith | 1 February 2012

Australian mining giant Gina Rinehart has made a bid to increase her holding in Fairfax by 9.9%, raising concerns she is trying to buy influence over the Australian public, according to reports.

Rinehart currently owns a 4% share of Fairfax, which owns newspapers such as The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. If successful in her bid she will take her stake to 15%.

Broker Morgan Stanley, acting on behalf of Rinehart, last night offered an investment of $192 million, which is 81c a share, 10.5% above the closing share price of 74c. In November last year the Fairfax family sold a 9.7% stake for 85c a share.

According to reports, the investment is a deliberate attempt to increase her influence over the media landscape. She currently has a 10% stake in Network Ten, which she bought in 2010, sitting her alongside other Network Ten stakeholders Bruce Gordon, James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch.

Last year Rinehart was publicly opposed to the Federal government's proposed mining tax, and this acquisition sparks concerns about her attempt to impose her views about the mining industry in Australia and wield more influence.

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