Nine CEO Hugh Marks has commented publicly on reports that shareholder WIN, controlled by Bermuda-based Bruce Gordon (pictured), was supposedly seeking to have him replaced.
“I don’t really want to speculate on their plans — Bruce Gordon is very hard to predict and again we’re just focused on making sure we run the business as well as we possibly can,” he told The Australian. “And if we do that then I expect that we will get support from all our shareholders.”
WIN owns 14.99 per cent of Nine’s ordinary voting shares, as well as another 4.9 per cent economic interest via an equity derivative contract. Last week Nine reported a 7% drop in profit, attributed to a “challenging ad market and poor programming outcomes.” It cited shows such as Reno Rumble, Australia’s Got Talent, Farmer Wants a Wife and The Briefcase as below expectations.
Nine has pulled off a win in the Demos, post-Olympics with The Block performing well. Tonight it launches Married at First Sight.
Reports have suggested WIN had sounded out other shareholders, including Perpetual (which owns 15.15 per cent of Nine), to effect a board spill and install new management.
As industry chatter continues, former TEN boss Grant Blackley, who was a director of actors agency RGM Artists with Marks, has also ruled out any merger of Southern Cross Austereo with Nine.
“I just have to focus on what we can do as business,” said Marks.
Meanwhile there are suggestions Nine is considering a relocation to a North Sydney skyscraper for about $80 million, after private developer Winten Property Group bought the North Sydney Shopping World and adjoining office building in June.