Channel Nine supremo David Gyngell has caught the eye of the Australian Securities Commission (ASIC) after he allegedly offloaded $1.5 million in Nine shares two weeks ago while the station subsequently copped an earnings downgrade yesterday.
Both Seven and Nine’s share price fell sharply when a report outlining free-to-air ad spend over the coming 12 months proved to be worse than expected.
Shares in Channel Nine plummeted 16.1 per cent following the release of the report and wiped $300 million from the value of the company.
It has been reported that Gyngell’s actions are under surveillance by ASIC and as yet there is no formal case against him. However, the Nine boss could be held in breach of corporate governance and disclosure issues.
A spokesperson for Nine sent a statement to News Corp stating that Mr Gyngell was unsure when he first learned of the earnings downgrade.
The statement, published in today’s The Australian, said: “If we had been aware of a downgrade any time prior to Friday afternoon we would have announced it at that time. That is the ASX disclosure obligation which we have at all times abided by. David Gyngell’s shares were sold following approval of the chairman, and in compliance with the company’s share-trading policy.”
A spokesman for ASIC said: “We do not comment on specifics and don’t comment on operational matters, including if we are looking at a particular matter, or not, but generally ASIC makes inquiries into disclosure issues and trading consistent with our usual practices around company announcements which result in significant market movements.”
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