It’s hard to see how Village Roadshow could be worth the price tag Mittleman ascribes to it. It is four years since Village traded at that level and now seems to be in a sufficiently parlous financial position that it will need an injection of equity to keep its bankers happy.
Given its line of business, Village Roadshow has been one of the most negatively COVID-impacted companies on the ASX.
But its woes pre-date COVID. Its performance has been disappointing and internal brawls between the Kirby brothers, who are the major shareholders, cast a pall over the unconventional governance of the company.
Even pre-pandemic, BGH had been working on a bid at $4. By the time BGH formalised its offer in August it was re-pitched at the far more abstemious base level of $2.20. And even at that level it was supported by Village Roadshow’s independent directors.
More recently, influential proxy group CGI Glass Lewis put its weight behind the deal – essentially advising shareholders to cut and run.
The board must be jumping through hoops that a previously recalcitrant investor Spheria Asset Management, which speaks for 7.8 per cent of the stock, has pushed BGH higher.
BHG needed to have the support of either Spheria or Mittleman to get the deal across the line and Spheria had stated previously that $3 was its magic number.
Incidentally Mittleman had threatened to take legal action against the directors accusing them of failing to discharge their duties to shareholders while fielding the BGH takeover bid.
“Given our belief that the [independent board committee] and the VRL board of directors have not properly discharged their duty to act in the interests of VRL shareholders by protecting them from blatant opportunism on the part of BGH, we have engaged legal counsel in Australia to petition ASIC in hopes of garnering regulatory intervention, and failing that, having our objections brought to the attention of the court,” Mittleman chief investment officer Christopher Mittleman wrote in a letter last month, which was sent to the ASX.
Just in case there were any other like-minded shareholders with rosie-eyed views on Village Roadshow’s current financial situation, on Monday the company included a snapshot of its current position. It doesn’t make for happy reading.
In the four months to October 31, it generated $5 million in cash flow and it expects cash flow to be in the order of $5 million to $15 million over the next seven months – and that includes the benefits of Jobkeeper. But it expects to need $55 million over that period in capital expenditure. Thus its net debt will blow out from $311 million to between $370 million and $380 million.
This equates to a $152 million increase in debt between January 2020 and June 2021.
Adding further uncertainty to Village Roadshow’s future was the September announcement that its contract with Warner Brothers to distribute theatrical films in Australia and New Zealand will be axed at the end of the year.
Dealing with these financial and operational issues will now fall to its new owners, who will undoubtedly have devised a strategic plan on the company’s prospects post COVID.
BGH has been particularly active in the pandemic-opportunism space, having made an unsuccessful tilt at buying Virgin Australia but lost out to another bunch of bargain hunters at Bain Capital.
It also forked out about half a billion dollars to snap up Healius’ 70 medical practices in a deal that other suitors had shied away from in the midst of the pandemic.
BGH founders Ben Gray, Robin Bishop and Simon Harle now need to strap themselves in for the Village Roadshow ride.
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Giansiracusa, who was headhunted by the Bombers to improve their relationships between players and coaches, is said to have made a strong impression in his presentation to the panel which includes former Sydney and Melbourne coach Paul Roos, but is still well and truly an outsider for the job, like Harvey.
Noble has been general manager of football with Brisbane since late 2016, having held the same position with the Adelaide Crows from 2014, after working for the Crows initially as an assistant coach before becoming list manager. He had worked as an assistant coach with the Western Bulldogs for five years, before moving to be head coach of Glenelg in the SANFL for two years.
Noble has also coached the NSW-ACT elite under team, the Rams, and at local level in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
While Noble, 53, has not been in coaching for almost exactly a decade – he moved into list management at Adelaide at the end of the 2010 season – there is an argument that, as with Fagan – who joined the Lions as senior coach after filling the general manager of football role at Hawthorn – the experience of running a football department is closer to that of senior coach in the modern AFL than that of an assistant coach, who does not manage staff.
North, who has a relatively new and first-time football boss in Brady Rawlings and had an inexperienced coach in Rhyce Shaw this year, are clearly keen to hire a coach with significant experience – which is the case for all three candidates.
North’s coach-search panel consists of Roos, Rawlings, chief executive Ben Amarfio, board member and club great Glenn Archer, football member Sonja Hood and psychologist and leadership adviser Terry Coyne.
North have been forced to appoint a coach well after the season after Shaw stepped down as senior coach after only one full season in the position, due to personal reasons.
SEVERAL vacant lots of prime Airlie Beach real estate could soon be home to three separate hotels, all of which would exceed the council’s height limit on buildings.
Over the past three weeks, Whitsunday Regional Council put two development applications for new hotels up for public notification.
A third application has been submitted to the council but is yet to be open for public comment as officers seek more information.
The three applications form part of one large development earmarked for Port of Airlie.
The plan is split into two precincts on either side of the Mantra Boathouse Apartments.
The northern precinct, closer to the site of the Airlie Beach markets, includes 10 lots.
It is in this precinct that plans for a four to five-star hotel with 180 suites, a spa and fitness centre, yoga deck, pool terrace and amenities has been flagged.
The hotel would also include an all-day dining restaurant and lobby bar, a specialty retail area and a roof terrace and bar as well as meeting and conference facilities.
In the southern precinct near the Cruise Whitsundays ferry terminal sits the other two proposed hotels.
Plans for the hotel closest to Mantra Boathouse Apartments show a mix of long and short-term accommodation that would be spread across three connected buildings, one with five storeys and two made up of three storeys.
The accommodation includes 52 luxury apartments that could be used for either permanent residents or as holidays stays.
As part of the development, a small community facility would also be built that includes a food and drink outlet, shop, office, health care service and potential for community use.
Less than 300 metres away would sit another hotel, this time aimed at families and groups travelling together.
The proposed four-storey hotel will have 102 accommodation units as well as a restaurant with waterfront terrace area, a dive school and training pool, bar, games room, communal kitchen and a gym.
All three applications have been submitted by the same developer and would be built above the current council height limit imposed of 12m.
The hotel closest to the foreshore is set to stand 47.7m tall, which developers said would “enhance the visual amenity of the local area and constitute an identifiable and attractive landmark within the townscape”.
The luxury hotel in the southern precinct would stand at 14.98m tall while the group-oriented hotel has been planned to reach 18.8m.
Two of the applications are listed on public notification here.
Three well-known Edmonton restaurants have shut down temporarily due to COVID-19 cases in staff members.
The Next Act Pub, MEAT, and Pip said they were closing so all staff could be tested after two employees tested positive: one at Pip and one at MEAT.
MEAT had announced it would be closing earlier in the week, while Pip and Next Act Pub posted their closures on Saturday. The restaurants have also halted their online ordering services.
“The last time [the staff member] worked was Saturday Nov. 7 for brunch and were not showing any symptoms at the time,” a MEAT statement said.
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“Please be assured there is minimal to no risk for anyone who may have dined with us over the last while, according to AHS.”
Pip said Saturday it was also shutting down after a staff member, who last worked during the day on Tuesday, Nov. 10, tested positive. The staff member had not had any symptoms during their shift, according to the restaurant.
Collingwood list boss Ned Guy has defended the club’s strategy during the trade period following the departures of three players on trade deadline.
Adam Treloar (Western Bulldogs), Jaidyn Stephenson (North Melbourne) and Tom Phillips (Hawthorn) all found new homes on a dramatic finale to the 2020 trade period.
Guy denied the decision to trade the trio was down to a salary cap squeeze, saying it was a calculated move to improve the club’s draft hand.
“I think we’re just navigating our way through the list management of it all,” Guy told Fox Footy.
“We want to continue strengthening our list and we think the draft is the best way to be able to do that.
“We’ve had a couple of good years, but we have been scaling backwards and we don’t want to wait to bottom out before we start bringing in new talent to compliment what we’ve already got.
“I don’t think it’s a fire sale at all. I think we just want to replenish the list and to be able to get into the first round, you’ve got to be able to give something up.
“We finished second, we finished fourth, we finished sixth, we want our trajectory to be heading back up the ladder.
“It’s part of a plan that we all put together and one we executed today. We want to replenish and add some talent through the draft.”
Guy touched on Treloar and Stephenson’s departures after the pair recently signed contract extensions at the Magpies.
“We had some conversations with Adam originally around whether his family was going to move to Queensland and whether he wanted to do that, and it just evolved from having that conversation to looking at another opportunity,” he said.
“It was just continued conversations throughout beyond the exit interview process with Jaidyn and his management.
“It just got to the point where Jaidyn was keen to play for North Melbourne.”
Collingwood secured picks 14, 65, 70 and a future second-round pick as a result of trading Treloar, Stephenson and Phillips.
All-Australian defender Darcy Moore has re-signed with Collingwood for another two AFL seasons.
Key back Moore, talented young winger Josh Daicos and Irish defender Mark Keane have all committed to the Magpies until the end of the 2022 season.
Moore, 24, enjoyed an injury-free year to mark his best season at Collingwood, playing all but one game to become one of the league’s premier defenders.
As a result, he snared a maiden All-Australian spot and finished fourth in the club’s best and fairest.
Meanwhile, fellow father-son selection Daicos, 21, had a breakout season, averaging 17.3 disposals while also booting 10 goals in 18 games – more matches than he’d played in his first three seasons combined.
Key defender Keane, 20, made his AFL debut against Fremantle in round nine.
“Clearly, given the ages of all three players, there is significant upside,” Magpies list manager Ned Guy said.
“Even for someone like Darcy, who is now and All-Australian, his peak years are ahead and with Josh and Mark they have so much scope to develop.
“We expect all of them to be important to Collingwood for many years to come.”
The Magpies still have some work to do on the re-signing front, with out-of-contract goal kickers Jordan De Goey and Brody Mihocek yet to commit.
Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said money was a key factor in negotiations with De Goey – who is currently without a professional manager and has been assisted in contract negotiations by his father.
“Elements of people on (De Goey’s) side would like to see him remunerated as well as he possibly could and we want him to be rewarded appropriately as well,” Buckley said after their 68-point semi-final loss to the Geelong.
Former mature-age draftee Mihocek, 27, has booted 90 goals in 58 games since debuting in 2018.
He led the Magpies’ goal-kicking tally for the past two seasons and will be looking to capitalise on his form with a long-term contract.
Collingwood GM of Football Geoff Walsh remains “very confident” they’ll re-sign star trio Jordan De Goey, Darcy Moore and Brody Mihocek.
Talks were put on hold due to COVID-19 earlier this year but even as the contract freeze was lifted, all three of the important Magpies remain unsigned.
Walsh said he’d heard nothing to suggest any of the trio would want to look elsewhere, saying Collingwood fans shouldn’t be worried about losing any of their big-name players.
“I’d be very confident that those boys are going to re-sign and stay,” he said on AFL Nation.
“We certainly want that to happen and made all those noises towards them and they’ve given us nothing back that to say otherwise.
“I think our fans and people can be confident of retaining those three people.
“(The uncertainty over list sizes) doesn’t hold us up (on those deals) but our manager Ned Guy is probably taking an educated guess on what the (list size) figure will be.
“I think it’s safe to say they’ll be some sort of reduction but as the weeks go by, it seems that figure is diminishing and not be as much as we all thought.”
Walsh called on the AFL to make a decision on the make up of playing sizes for 2021, with AFL Nation’s Anthony Hudson saying on Saturday that he believes lists would comprise of 38 players plus rookies next year.
“There’s no doubt (the uncertainty) becomes an inhibiting factor,” he said.
“We need to get the list sizes organised, we’ve now got 10 clubs who have finished their seasons and yet they don’t know with any certainty how many they’re going to have on their list and how much money they’re going to have to spend.
“It does inhibit trade and list discussions, so we are a little bit in the dark at the moment.”