Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart grabs stake in Ten Network

Billionaire mining entrepreneur Gina Rinehart has shocked the business world by emerging with a 10% stake in Ten Network, just weeks after James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch grabbed a combined 19% of the company.

The purchase comes as a complete shock to those in both the media sector and the mining industry.

Rinehart, whose fortune was estimated at $4.75 million in BRW‘s Rich 200 edition this year, has previously stuck very tightly to the resources industry. Her company Hancock Prospecting, which she inherited from her father Lang Hancock, owns some of the best iron ore holdings in Australia, and is also planning the development of two giant coal mines in Queensland, with a combined project value of $15 billion.

Exactly why Rinehart would want to diversify into the media at this point remains a mystery, and a brief statement from Hancock Prospecting shed little light.

”Our company group is interested in making an investment towards the media business given its importance to the nation’s future and has selected Ten Network for this investment,” the company said.

Ten Network is yet to respond to Rinehart’s arrival on its share registry.

Based on Ten’s current share price, Rinehart’s stake is worth $172.6 million.

The company has had a tumultuous few weeks since Packer spent $230 million acquiring a 19% stake, half of which has or will be sold to Lachlan Murdoch.

Packer has already secured board seats for himself and Murdoch, and has also forced Ten to agree to dump executive chairman Nick Falloon after the company’s annual general meeting in December.

It remains to be seen whether Rinehart will push for board representation alongside Packer and Murdoch, and whether she will seek to back the well-known media players in their efforts to restructure Ten.

Rinehart does not have strong links to the media sector and has traditionally managed her business in a very private way.

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