Lachlan Murdoch Sues Fairfax Media For Defamation
Lachlan Murdoch is suing Australia’s Fairfax Media, alleging he was defamed in a September 6 article in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age which claimed he spent $304,000 of time travelling in News Corp’s corporate jet in the past year. Murdoch is a director of News as well as non-executive chairman of the struggling Network Ten. The article said, “Lachlan has…been flying high, in direct contradistinction to the ratings of the Ten Network.” The suit filed this week in the NSW Supreme Court said the article was based on News’ annual report which referred only to his brother James’ use of the jet. “The error is not such that a journalist, no matter how incompetent, could have made,” reads the claim. “Thus, it will be inferred that the defendant chose deliberately to state that it was Lachlan Murdoch, rather than his brother, knowing that statement was false or reckless.” The News-owned Australian reported Lachlan had not used the jet for seven years. The Fairfax papers tried to limit the damage by publishing a correction and apologizing for suggesting Lachlan used his position for personal benefit. Lachlan is seeking a full apology and $A50,000 ($52,280) to be paid to charity. The Australian said both sides were in negotiations. – Don Groves
Restored ‘Scarecrow’ Opens Lumière Fest
The Lumière Festival was launched four years ago by Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Frémaux who is also head of the Lumière Institute in Lyon. The open-to-the-public festival largely shows retrospectives and restorations but draws a substantial crowd of global filmmaking talent. Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman, Gérard Depardieu and Stanley Donen have stopped by in the past. Jerry Schatzberg’s 1973 Palme d’Or winner Scarecrow will open the proceedings this year on October 15 (last year it was The Artist). A new, restored copy of the film will be screened with the director on hand, accompanied by Frémaux and his co-hort at the festival Bertrand Tavernier. Schatzberg’s filmography includes Puzzle Of A Downfall Child and The Panic In Needle Park. Increasingly crossover director and actor Guillaume Canet, who worked with Schatzberg on The Day the Ponies Come Back, will present Scarecrow which stars Gene Hackman and Al Pacino. The film was restored courtesy of Warner Bros and Park Circus. Max Von Sydow, Jacqueline Bisset, Lalo Schifrin, Tim Roth, Agnès Varda, Mark Cousins and Nicolas Winding Refn are also expected to attend and Ken Loach is receiving a special prize. The Lumière festival runs October 15 to 21.
Goldman Sachs Rejects Nine Recapitalization
The recapitalization of Oz’s Nine Entertainment has hit a snag with a dispute among the company’s three major lenders. Hedge funds Apollo Group and Oaktree, which are owed more than $1.04B, proposed a restructuring which would convert $2.8B of senior debt into 70% equity. The balance would be owned by Goldman Sachs mezzanine funds, with a small stake retained by CVC Asia Pacific, which bought Nine in 2007 for $5.5B. That plan was “categorically” rejected by Goldman Sachs because CVC’s $1.9B in equity would be wiped out and the mezzanine debt holders would get just 5% of any amount above $2.8B realized in selling Nine, The Australian reported. CVC is under pressure since the senior debt has to be repaid or refinanced by February. The Apollo-Oaktree proposal would be executed by 100% consent or a scheme of arrangement, with senior lenders asked to respond in four or five days. - Don Groves