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Billionaire James Packer makes $A5m on Trade Me

BUSINESSDESK: Ellerston Capital, a fund manager controlled by Australian billionaire James Packer’s family interests, has emerged as a substantial holder of shares in New Zealand online auction site Trade Me.

Sydney-based Ellerston, set up in 2004 by the Packer family's holding company, Consolidated Media Holdings, owns 5.18% of Trade Me, according to a substantial security holder notice to the NZX.

Ellerston bought the shares in 19 separate transactions between April and August at an average share price of $A2.73, according to the notice.

At today's ASX price of $A2.97, Mr Packer's 20.5 million shares would have appreciated $A4.9 million.

Dual-listed Trade Me went public in December last year when Fairfax Media sold down its holding to raise funds to support its publishing operations.

The stock was unchanged today (NZX: TME) at $3.87 and is rated a "hold" based on the consensus of eight recommendations compiled by Reuters. Analysts have a price target of $3.86 for the shares.

James Packer inherited the family company in 2005 after the death of his father, Australian businessman Kerry Packer.

His investments include shares in various gaming and entertainment groups, including Melbourne's Crown Entertainment Complex, Macau's City of Dreams, Seven Network and Australia's pay television network, Foxtel.

Fairfax Media acquired Trade Me for $750 million in 2006. It reduced its stake via last year’s initial public offering and in June, sold down its holding in the Wellington-based company by 15% at a discounted price of $A2.70 a share.

That leaves 51% of Trade Me's stock in Fairfax hands.

Comments and questions
2

Great place to pick up the Fairfax overhang...
When is trademe opening online gambling?

Trademe digital Bingo hall - would do well! A one stop pawn shop/pokies rolled up into one. Sell the family silver - make $5 bucks... then hit the "I'm feeling lucky" button - and lose the lot.