Wednesday, October 28, 2009

James Packer defends casino industry at Crown AGM - 28th October 2009

James Packer has criticised "one-sided" media reporting about gambling advising his casinos make a great contribution to the community and business.

"Next time you read an unbalanced story about your casinos and their impact on the community, stop and think about the other side of the story" he advised the annual general meeting of Crown. "The one that rarely gets reported". "That is, of the contribution Crown makes to tourism, to employment, to training, to urban development, to community partnerships and to government revenues. Contributions that make us fundamentally different to many pubs and clubs."

Chief executive Rowen Craigie advised "While a few domestic customer segments continue to exhibit some signs of softness - and in particular I refer to some corporate events and corporate hotel bookings - these impacts have been offset by growth in other customer segments such as consumer and leisure bookings". "There are indications that the business environment in Macau is improving. We see long term potential for the Macau market growth given its exposure to China."

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*The Media Man Australia founder and director does hold shares in Crown Limited

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Platinum HD Profile

Mission Statement

To be the World's No 1 property, tourism and lifestyle online production network.

Our Aim

Platinum HD (Propvid Queensland) is a team of Cinematographers with a passion for making films that work. Anybody can shoot video. Platinum HD (Propvid Queensland) makes films people watch. Since opening in a two-car garage on the Gold Coast in 2006, PlatiumHD (Propvid Queensland) has grown to become an online TV network with offices in Broadbeach and West End, with a reach from the Sunshine Coast to Tweed Heads and a capacity to shoot anywhere, anytime. Platinum HD (Propvid Queensland) shoots seven days a week, from first light to last light. Our Crew has produced over 6,000 films on property and lifestyle in South East Queensland and have no intention of stopping anytime soon.


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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Packer's game spot on, by Terry McCrann - Herald Sun - 14th October 2009

Understanding James Packer and judging his success or failure - present and future - turns entirely on understanding that he has made two big strategic calls.

One was to exit 20th century media - free-to-air TV and magazines. To exit them, self-evidently, in Australia but, for what it's ever worth, the decision applies globally.

It was a decision that developed from the late 1990s, so that he was able, brutally but clinically, to hit the ground running on the death of his father.

The second was to go long 21st century China. At core, seeking to ride exactly the same long wave as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, indeed as Australia overall.

But via a very different path. It was - is - of course, his real first (business) love: gaming. And in the only available place, Macau.

Indeed, when you think it through, Packer is really aiming to sell a sophisticated consumer product into the fastest rising disposable incomes on the planet, of some 1.3 billion people. With all the pluses - and very real competitive risks - that entails.

Now, that is 'first love' in a very different way to his late father Kerry or his mentor in this space, the man who in effect built him his money-making Xanadu on the Yarra, Lloyd Williams. For James it is all about the certainty and mind-bogglingly fine detail of the mathematics.

Understand this and you begin to understand where he is going and the dynamics of that journey. And why the US gaming plays that were the focus of the ABC's 45-minute advertisement for Paul Barry's new book were an extremely costly, if instructive, diversion.

Even accounting the $1.5 billion apparently lost cold and extraordinarily rapidly in the US (and Canada and the UK), Packer's combined media and gaming corporate empire has outperformed almost all his relevant peers on his unqualified watch.

As I explained yesterday, the package of value from the old Packer PBL company had increased by $1.20 (down to 97 yesterday) since the death of Kerry on Boxing Day 2005.

This gave shareholders a positive 5.8 per cent TSR (total shareholder return). That's the total over the four years, not per year as I incorrectly wrote in haste yesterday. This compared to a 19.5 per cent negative TSR for Packer's media peer group and an even worse 26.9 per cent negative TSR for the gaming peer group.

The reason was, of course, the spectacular sale of the Nine Network for $5.5 billion - netting him $4.5 billion after the $1 billion he had to reinvest in the network and subsequently lose.

There is just no way to describe this other than as a spectacular coup, spectacularly timed - late in 2006, just as the subprime crisis was starting its slow bubble towards the surface in the US.

Even if you set off the $1.5 billion he would lose in the US against the $4.5 billion, the 'net' was still $3 billion. That's still almost as much as Kerry Stokes got for following him in selling half the Seven Network, just as it was toppling Nine from its long dominance of ratings and advertising dollars.

In short, Packer sold a rapidly depreciating asset beyond the top of the market, exploiting the global financial whiz-kiddery in its dying days! And the deal was even better than it looked.

Why? Because Packer kept the key stakes in Foxtel (25 per cent) and Fox Sports (50 per cent).

Two things are significant about that. It's at least another $1 billion of value - depending how the NBN arm-wrestle plays out, maybe even $2 billion. So his net value out of media was really more like $5.5 billion to $6.5 billion. Secondly, he very deliberately kept what he sees as the 21st century media business. He thinks Foxtel/Fox Sports is the best media business in Australia.

So why did he bend over and sue for peace with the other Kerry; indeed letting him, albeit by proxy, into his media company's boardroom? And did it signify he had a loose affiliation even with Foxtel?

Actually, no. What tended to slip under the radar with the 'mogul peace deal' is that Stokes agreed to 'stand-still' - to not buy any more shares in Packer's Consolidated Media for a year. But Packer did not.

Following the ConsMedia buyback, Stokes' stake goes to 22 per cent, while Packer's will go to a tick over 45 per cent.

Stokes can't buy any more for 12 months. But Packer can and will. He can buy 3 per cent every six months. As the time expires on Stokes' standstill, Packer will move above 50.1 per cent and unchallengable control.

There is no way he will sell out of his remaining - 21st century - media. Unless Stokes or somebody else (it would have to be from another planet) offers him a very silly price. Then the cold-blooded mathematical Packer would kick in.

2 There is no way he is going to 'share' Foxtel with Stokes. He has handcuffed Stokes and in 12 months he could resume hostilities from a position of unchallengable ascendency.

In short, he has moved to 'correct' the mistake he made when he opened the front door by 'selling out' of Nine without bolting the back door to the ConsMedia register. And he's doing, incidentally, the same thing at Crown. He's already started 'creeping' to the same 50.1 per cent.

In short also, the simple fact is that his media plays have been an unqualified success. He has created extraordinary value - in the form of very real (that is, Aussie) dollars.

He has paid for his US mistakes. And he has kept his position in 21st century media, alongside the businessman he most admires and the country's, for the moment, dominant telco.

That leaves judgment on his big 21st century play: China. It is as simplistic to judge that on the basis of what might be happening in Macau this year, as it would be to conclude that the lower prices BHP And Rio were getting this year 'proved' China was a dud for them.

Yes, there might be indigestion in Macau; yes, the Chinese government can play games with visas.

But Macau is very different to Las Vegas. It's the only game in town - until, if, the Chinese allow it in Beijing and Shanghai. And it sits next to 1.3 billion people with rising incomes; against Vegas with 300 million people with falling incomes. (Credit: Herald Sun)

Read the full article here

Media Man Australia - Greg Tingle comments

Mr Packer has investments in a range of business verticals... old media, new media and the hotel, casino and resort sector (both in Australia and abroad), thus spreading risk

Crown Casino is Australia's most profitable casino

Mr Packer and his team appear to have played "politics" correctly with both the Australian / Victorian government as well as the Chinese government

New media investments that Mr Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) made that performed impressively include Seek, Carsales, and Foxtel

Gambling is one form of entertainment. Crown Casino, Burswood Entertainment Centre and City Of Dreams have been successful in securing numerous world class entertainment acts, performing artists and the like. Crown Casino and City Of Dreams have developed into major tourist destinations and provide substantial employment

Crown Limited is still in business, while many competitors on a global scale went out of business or are currently going into bankruptcy

Media Man Australia director and founder, Greg Tingle, owns shares in Crown Limited

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why James is still on a roll, by Terry McCrann - 14th October 2009

There is one simple all-encompassing measure of James Packer's performance since he assumed absolute responsibility for - he already had control of - the family fortune, when 'Big Kerry' died on Boxing Day just under four years ago.

It is also the single most important measure: How have he and his fellow shareholders done?

When the market closed for Christmas back then, the share price of the Packers' then PBL company was $16.61.

Somewhat over-excited observers suggested it would reopen post-Christmas and post-Kerry as much as 10 per cent lower. In the event it dropped 20.

Well those shareholders now have a package of value adding to around $17.80 per old PBL share. They are $1.20 a share better off under James Packer's sole stewardship.

It's simple, it's clear, it's undeniable. It captures all the pluses and minuses and finishes with a significant net plus.

First up James split PBL into two companies - Crown, to hold the gaming interests and Consolidated Media for the 'old' Packer business. Investors were given one share in each of the new companies for each PBL share plus a special $3 dividend.

So today's value package comprises the $9.19 market price for a Crown share, $3.08 for a ConsMedia share, $3 for the demerger dividend, $2.13 in accumulated normal dividends since then and 38 for theoretical interest earned on those dividends.

Now in isolation an extra $1.20 over four years mightn't sound much. But it came through a little event called the Global Financial Crisis.

In that context, what's called the 'Total Shareholder Return' or TSR delivered to investors in the Packer empire of plus 5.8 per cent per year over the four years is very impressive. Just about everybody else outside the resources sector would be negative.

Compared to its peers, the performance of the - to stress, James - Packer empire is spectacular. And it is very important to note, that it has two sets of peers - the gaming sector and the media sector.

Why important? Because it is the combination and the type of media which is key to understanding James' success to date and the plays he is making into the 21st century. In both spaces.

It is also fundamentally his corporate empire. It reflects his choices and his strategic and tactical decisions. The biggest of course, the exactly perfectly timed sale of the Nine Network just 10 months after Kerry's death.

Investment bank UBS has done the numbers. They show a media average (of Seven, Ten, Fairfax, WAN and NewsCorp) TSR of minus 19.5 per cent a year since Kerry's death.

While the gaming average (using Tabcorp and a clutch of US-based groups), produces minus 26.9 per cent a year TSR.

Just to emphasise the difference: the Packer package grew by 5.8 per cent a year over the four years; the media and gaming peers went not just backwards, but significantly backwards.

Full article here (Credit:

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Play on the Biggest Monopoly Board Ever

Monopoly City Streets will incorporate Google Maps in an online version of the famed board game.

US, September 8, 2009 - EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. - Have you ever wanted to own the entire street where you live? Starting tomorrow (September 9), aspiring MONOPOLY moguls can take over the globe with MONOPOLY CITY STREETS, a limited-time online free version of the world's most popular board game that allows players to "buy" streets based on Google Maps, competing against participants all over the world.

The MONOPOLY CITY STREETS instant-play online platform brings MONOPOLY to life by letting competitors play with the actual streets that are special to them. including their very own neighborhood, town or city. Or, players can choose to set up their property empire in a city where they would like to own property. It's easy to get started -- players create a profile on and begin to acquire properties each day through purchases and trades. Each player starts the game with $3 million MONOPOLY dollars and earns rent based on streets and properties owned at the time competitors log into the game.

Each street in the world is available for purchase by only one player, increasing the opportunity for trading and interaction among players. Players can instantly set up houses, hotels, skyscrapers and other buildings quickly after acquiring streets to increase property values.

The online game is launching in celebration of the release of MONOPOLY CITY, a new board game where players build a 3-D city in the center of the game board. For the first time since MONOPOLY was invented in 1935, game play has changed, removing the need to collect an entire property group before players can build structures on their properties, so a city can be built from the ground up from the first roll of the dice. Additionally, just like in real life, the value of property and players' incomes can rise and fall. Players can build structures to increase property values, such as schools or eco-friendly wind farms, or they can sabotage opponents by building sewage plants or prisons on the competition's property.

"The online experience for MONOPOLY CITY STREETS emphasizes the exciting dealing and negotiating elements of MONOPOLY," said Sarah Hoskin, Senior Marketing Manager for U.S. Marketing at Hasbro Games. "Both MONOPOLY CITY STREETS and MONOPOLY CITY bring new creativity to MONOPOLY that goes beyond the traditional property streets, green houses and red hotels."

MONOPOLY CITY STREETS will launch online in English, French, Spanish, Dutch and German on September 9, 2009. MONOPOLY CITY will be available at mass retail stores nationwide in Fall for the approximate retail price of $34.99. The board game includes more than 80 3-D buildings, district property cards, MONOPOLY money, "Chance" and "Dodge Rent" cards, and a Trading unit that requires two AAA batteries.


Since 1935, more than 250 million copies of MONOPOLY have been sold in 106 countries and 40 languages. More than 200 different editions of the game have been published, but the most popular continues to be the classic "Number Nine." Affectionately known by its original product number, "Number Nine" is based on the streets of Atlantic City and is nearly identical to Charles Darrow's original submission to Parker Brothers. The MONOPOLY name and logo, the distinctive design of the game board, the four corner squares, the MR. MONOPOLY name and the character, as well as each of the distinctive elements of the board and playing pieces are trademarks of Hasbro for its property trading game and game equipment. (C) 2009 Hasbro, All Rights Reserved.

About Hasbro

Hasbro, Inc. is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time products and services with a rich portfolio of brands and entertainment properties that provides some of the highest quality and most recognizable play and recreational experiences in the world. As a brand-driven, consumer-focused global company, Hasbro brings to market a range of toys, games and licensed products, from traditional to high-tech and digital, under such powerful brand names as TRANSFORMERS, PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, CRANIUM and WIZARDS OF THE COAST. Come see how we inspire play through our brands at (C) 2009 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



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