Sydney, July 6 (ANI): The world's richest woman and mining magnate, Gina Rinehart, has insisted that her decision to lower her stake in Australian media firm Fairfax, is aimed at removing a key obstacle to joining the company's board.
Rinehart's private company, Hancock Prospecting, last night offloaded 86.5 million of the media company's shares, dropping her holding below 15 per cent.
The partial sale comes amid a stand-off between Rinehart and Fairfax over her push to secure at least two board seats of the newspaper and internet group.
While she remains Fairfax's single largest shareholder, Rinehart insisted she had no plans to mount a multibillion-dollar takeover of the media firm.
According to The Age, a statement issued by Hancock Prospecting said the sale of shares had been aimed at meeting rules surrounding a corporate insurance policy held by Fairfax designed to protect directors against being sued by disgruntled shareholders.
The policy, which is common throughout business, does not cover directors that have more than a 15 percent stake in the company.
"The (share) sale was completed to resolve an issue that arose concerning the directors and officers insurance policy, in the situation of a director having a greater than 15 per cent shareholding in Fairfax," the Hancock statement said.
Hancock said the insurance issue was one of the 'key issues' raised by Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett in Rinehart's quest to join the company's board.
It said the issue could be resolved by either the chairman authorising to raise the 15 per cent limit, or by reducing the holding to under 15 percent.
"Given the chairman did not undertake the former; we have taken the latter and sold in a single tranche to minimise any market impact," the statement added. (ANI)