Archive for February, 2019

TPG Telecom buys into Amcom and Vocus merger talks

By admin | 杭州桑拿

TPG has bought into Amcom. TPG has bought into Amcom.
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TPG has bought into Amcom.

TPG has bought into Amcom.

TPG Telecom has dramatically dealt itself a seat at the table in merger talks between Amcom and Vocus by becoming a substantial shareholder in one of the players.

Vocus approached Amcom about merging the businesses last week in a move that would create a $1.1 billion telco that owns a national fibre cable network and sells phone and internet services to corporate customers around the country.

It is understood an agreement on the ideal merger terms between Amcom and Vocus is imminent and that an announcement was due as early as Friday, in line with Amcom chief executive Clive Stein’s comments that a decision could be made this week.

But TPG on Thursday afternoon made the surprise decision to ramp up its holding in Amcom to over 5.43 per cent – a move that could potentially throw a spanner in the works and force Vocus to offer more value.

Where Amcom was trading at around $2.20 per share on October 31 when TPG began its buying spree, at close of trading on Thursday it was selling for $2.51 per share. Its market capitalisation has also surpassed that of Vocus.

Documents lodged by TPG show it used Bell Potter Securities to gradually purchase 3.9 million Amcom shares worth $8.9 million from October 31 onwards, which added to its existing holding of around 10.46 million shares.

This makes TPG one of the largest shareholders in Amcom and gives them a substantial say in the future of the company.

CIMB research analyst Ian Martin said TPG’s offer would make it harder for Vocus and Amcom to find common ground.

TPG is one of the three companies Mr Martin had pegged as potential rival bidders for Amcom.

“It’ll now be harder for the two to find common ground,” he said. “These discussions always hinge on who provides what value to the entity.

“But I can’t see [TPG executive chairman] David Teoh given his well-established desire to give value for money engaging in a bidding war with Vocus for Amcom so [the increased stake] is probably just a safety mechanism.”

TPG itself was characteristically quiet, issuing a short two-paragraph statement to the market.

“TPG currently has no specific intention regarding Amcom other than to own shares as a strategic investment,” TPG said.

Corbett: Fairfax doesn’t need to merge to survive

By admin | 杭州桑拿

“”The legislation simply does not meet the current needs of the industry or the community,” Fairfax chair Roger Corbett. “”The legislation simply does not meet the current needs of the industry or the community,” Fairfax chair Roger Corbett.
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“”The legislation simply does not meet the current needs of the industry or the community,” Fairfax chair Roger Corbett.

“”The legislation simply does not meet the current needs of the industry or the community,” Fairfax chair Roger Corbett.

Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett says the company doesn’t need to merge with another media business to ensure its survival, despite blasting existing media ownership laws for “restricting” the industry and “failing” Australians.

Mr Corbett called on the Abbott government to show “decisive leadership” and scrap laws that limit the reach of media companies and ban them from owning newspaper, radio and television assets in the one market.

“The legislation simply does not meet the current needs of the industry or the community. I will go further and say it restricts a modern media industry and fails the Australian consumer,” Mr Corbett said at the company’s annual meeting in Melbourne on Thursday.

“Media companies like Fairfax need to have the flexibility to operate all available media platforms in an environment of intense competition from global media and technology giants for advertising revenue and audiences.”

But Mr Corbett said that didn’t mean Fairfax – which has posted a 2 and 3 per cent drop in revenue since July 1 – needed merge with another media company to survive.

“I wouldn’t wish to imply that,” Mr Corbett said after the annual meeting.

“Fairfax has taken under [chief executive Greg Hywood’s] leadership the actions that it needs to take to readjust its business

“The point that we are making is … technology is moving the news over all those channels simultaneously in real time, and news agencies and papers and radio stations need to be able to merge that whole process because the consumer is consuming the news as they want to consume it.”

Mr Corbett said “people across government” had privately conceded to him “the “legislation’s irrelevance”, which he said was frustrating.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has indicated that he would considering altering the laws if a consensus was reached in the media industry.

Mr Corbett was tight-lipped on what media partnerships could emerge from a change in legislation, saying only that “talks are always going on and we would never comment on those”.

“But clearly if they whole market is opened, all the media companies will adjust to the space and get more efficient and a more effective distribution.”

Fairfax confirmed last month that it had met with free-to-air broadcaster Ten to discuss merger options but said that meeting had no more status than other meetings it was having with other media companies.

Mr Hywood said Fairfax would continue to cut costs in the business. The company as slashed staff numbers from more than 12,000 to just below 8000 in past years and is now turning looking for savings in its regional arm, which includes 150 newspapers and websites.

Mr Hywood said the regional cuts weren’t about closing newspapers, but creating hubs in major centres in an attempt to deliver annualised savings of $40 million by 2016.

“The cost cutting is something which is part of every business 27/7,” Mr Hywood said.

“The interesting thing is having gone through this exercise at Fairfax, is that there was perception of ‘that’s the cost of producing newspapers’. In fact that was not the cost of producing newspapers.

“We have found new, innovative ways of reducing the cost while maintaining the quality and that’s a never ending pursuit. What we do is we get capabilities within the business to be able to do that.”

Such measures have included closing down the metropolitan printing presses in Melbourne and Sydney in favour of regional centres, outsourcing subediting, increasing newspaper cover prices and cutting circulation for the printed products.

Mr Hywood said he believed the company, which reported a turnaround annual profit of $224.4 million in the 12 months to June 30, was close to delivering revenue growth.

“We’re not far away I believe as we continue to get organic growth. We do have potential with a strong balance sheet for potential acquisitions and we have made a few in the [real estate] Domain space to build our revenues up over time.”

Domain’s overall revenue has jumped 21 per cent since July 1, with its total digital business up 35 per cent. Publishing revenue meanwhile has fallen 4 per cent, and Australian Community Media dived 9 per cent.

Radio revenue was down 2 and 3 per cent, but Mr Hywood said that was “improving”.

Brisbane Asia-Pacific Film Festival program released

By admin | 杭州桑拿

A scene from the movie ‘From What is Before’.From a 34-second Japanese animated short to a five-and-a-half hour epic about the Philippines under the Marcos regime, organisers of the first Brisbane Asia-Pacific Film Festival are confident their program will have something for everyone.
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The full program for BAPFF – the phoenix which has arisen from the ashes of the Brisbane International Film Festival – was released on Thursday.

Eighty-five films from more than 30 countries will screen at six locations across the city between November 29 and December 16.

The festival will incorporate the Asia-Pacific Screen Awards at City Hall.

Executive chairman Michael Hawkins said he was confident the tie-in would draw crowds.

“The message we got loud and clear from APSA last year was from people who attended that and saw just a morsel of the films wanted to know where they could see the whole thing,” he said.

“That gave us great encouragement to undertake this.”

Head programmer Kiki Fung moved to Brisbane Marketing to work on BAPFF after Screen Queensland handed over control of the festival to the City Council (along with $700,000 in funding).

“It’s an opportunity for us to look at films from this region in depth,” she said.

“If you’re open-minded and curious, come and join us.”

She said one of her favourite films on the program was From What is Before, by Filipino long-form master Lav Diaz – an exercise in endurance at 338 minutes.

“You would never, ever see this film in a commercial cinema,” she said.

“But if you sit through it, he has a fascinating sense of time and space, and he takes you on a journey into history…and the effect of the Marcos regime on ordinary people in a village.”

By contrast, Japanese animated tale Let Out gets its story across in a mere 34 seconds.

“We have a special program of 14 animated shorts from across the reason, China, Japan, Russia,” she said.

Ms Fung said other highlights included a screening of Crossroads of Youth, Korea’s oldest silent film, presented by a traditional live narrator, a section devoted to women in film, the Palme d’Or winner from Cannes 2014, Winter Sleep, and the world premiere of Blood Links, the story of Australian artist William Yang’s search for his Chinese ancestors.

BAPFF executive chairman Michael Hawkins admitted another event had disrupted the festival’s marketing preparation.

“The timelines have gotten entwined with G20,” he said.

But Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the BAPFF push would begin soon enough.

“Once G20 has gone, I think there’ll be an immediate switch of focus,” he said.

“There’ll be a sort of anti-climax when G20 finishes when people ask ‘What’s next?’ Well, this is it.”

Cr Quirk said it might take some time for people to get used to BAPFF, after 22 years of BIFF.

“I think people will warm to it, but I think whatever happens this year it will grow,” he said.

The full BAPFF program and timetable is now available online.

TOPICS: Australian Reptile Park’s tips on catching funnel webs for venom milking

By admin | 杭州桑拿

Funnel webs can be milked of their venom, which can be used to make anti-venom to stop bite related deaths.FOR anyone the sane side of Mark Holden, the news that you’re running low on funnel webs might sound just fine.
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Not so Stacey Denovan. Part of the Australian Reptile Park keeper’s job is to ‘‘milk’’ the spiders of their venom, and she’s down to her last 10. It’s getting desperate.

‘‘At our highest point last year we had three or four hundred males,’’ she told Topics.

‘‘And the males don’t live long once they’re on the shelf.’’

The park is the sole supplier of funnel web venom in Australia. It’s used to make anti-venom which, since being developed 33 years ago, has put a stop to bite-related deaths.

Where are we going with this? Look, we’ll come clean. Your help is needed.

Next time you find a funnel web in the yard, the house or the depths of your gumboot, Denovan, Topics and society need you to trap it, scoop it up and drop it off for milking.

‘‘It’s the only way we get them,’’ say Denovan.

‘‘The people who bring them in are gardeners, builders and contractors who find them digging.’’

As shown in this demonstration video, the idea is to find a jar, punch holes in the lid and corral your funnel web with a ruler. It’ll need soil in there for moisture, or some damp cotton.

‘‘They’re easier to deal with than people might think,’’ says Denovan, brightly.

‘‘They don’t jump, can’t climb smooth surfaces and can’t run very quickly.’’

Excellent. It’s a male you’re after. In the matriarchal world of funnel webs they live half as long, are routinely eaten and, with venom six times stronger than females, are in demand for milking. On the upside, they don’t have to tidy the burrow.

John Hunter Hospital and Belmont Hospital are the drop-off points for funnel webs – in a jar. We can’t stress that enough.

ONE of Newcastle’s behind-the-scenes movers and shakers has a gig tonight at the Lass O’Gowrie.

Rod Smith, the legal mind who underpinned Renew Newcastle, will front his four-piece North Arm at the Wickham live music institution. The band just released its EP Life Cycles, and is making a buzz in independent circles.

Smith is a City of Newcastle Service Award-winner for his pro bono work for Renew. With colleagues Alex McInnes and Danielle Larkin, he managed the group’s corporate compliance, tax office endorsements and lease arrangements.

And we’re told his band is worth checking out.

TOPICS finds ourselves in furious agreement with John Safran. It’s about cake.

‘‘There’s a lot of pressure to eat cake in society,’’ the filmmaker wrote this week on Facebook.

‘‘Easily more pressure than taking drugs I’ve found. You’re always insulting someone by not accepting cake. Either you’re rejecting their kindness, or insulting their baking, or implying they’re fat and greedy for gobbling cake and you’re better than them for showing restraint.’’

Exactly. Be it a school fete, wedding, funeral, end of the HSC, our birthday, your birthday, Jesus’ birthday, the latest round of redundancies, people can’t get enough of cake.

This column once shuffled to the side of our own farewell as colleagues busied themselves with a flan. A lady made it her mission that we take some home in tupperware. Why?

The thing is, some of us prefer something savoury – seafood, perhaps. Imagine debating the finer points of whatever with a mate, cracking into a crab, waving a claw for emphasis.

But that’s one idea. Who’s with us? Which food could end the rein of cake?

International film producer is a Canberra boy at heart

By admin | 杭州桑拿

Talented: Former Canberran and film-maker Matthew Metcalfe’s latest film “The Dead Lands” will be screening as part of the Canberra International Film Festival. Photo: Melissa AdamsHe grew up in Canberra and planned to join the navy after finishing university, but Matthew Metcalfe found himself sidetracked by a long-time love of movies.
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Today, the New Zealand-born producer has nine feature films, 10 television features and several music videos under his belt, and spends half his time flying to meetings all over the world.

But he says he’s never forgotten his formative years in Canberra, which is why he chose the capital for the Australian premiere of his new feature film, The Dead Lands.

Set in pre-colonial New Zealand, the film is shot entirely in te reo Maori and is the first feature film to showcase the ancient Maori martial art mau rakau.

“It’s a great action thriller, it’s that classic hero’s journey – the unwitting hero who gets sucked into events beyond his control and who has the choice to either wither away and die or to become strong and face their adversaries down,” he told Fairfax Media this week.

He had been handed the script by writer Glen Standring, optioned it straight away and then sat on it for a couple years.

“I often do that with the films I make, I think about them and wait until I feel right, and then what I did is I took it to a long-time collaborator of mine, Toa Fraser, who directed it, and who I’ve done two previous films with, and he loved it as well. So we decided together that we were going to make the film, and we both felt strongly that we would keep it in te reo, which is the Maori language, for authenticity’s sake.”

Modelled on the ’80s action thrillers he and director Fraser grew up watching, he said it was in many ways a traditional story but one that showed New Zealand history in a new light.

“I’m very proud to say that we had our opening weekend in New Zealand just this weekend gone, and it hands down beat Fury, the Brad Pitt film – we were the number one film in the New Zealand box office,” he said.

“Everyone’s really delighted about such a strong opening and such a strong response. And I think that’s just because it’s a good ride, an off-the-bat, straight-up-and-down action thriller with traditional elements, great action, great fights and a lot of heart.”

Mr Metcalfe said he had fond memories of growing up in the northern suburb of Spence, and studying at Dickson College.

“Canberra is where I went to school, it’s where I grew up, it’s where I learnt to ride a motorbike, where I learnt to drive, where I used to go out to Belconnen Mall on a Friday night,” he said.

“It’s a really nostalgic place for me that I really enjoy and have really fond memories of. People love to hassle Canberra but I really like it.”

He studied at the University of Auckland as a foreign student, and had planned to return to Australia and join the navy.

But  while he was waiting for the course to begin he discovered a mutual love of film with a friend – he had worked part-time as an usher throughout his studies – and started making films, postponing the course before giving it up completely.

The Dead Lands is due for official worldwide release early next year, but Canberrans will get the chance to see it this week as part of the Canberra International Film Festival.

“When this came up, I said absolutely, I’m a Canberra boy and I’d love to take this to Canberra, and I won’t say who but some other festivals lost out because Canberra got it first,” he said.

The Dead Lands screens at Dendy Cinemas on Thursday November 6 at 6.30pm, and on Saturday November 8 at 4pm, and producer Matthew Metcalfe will be introducing both screenings. For a full CIFF program, visit canberrafilmfestival上海龙凤论坛m.au.