The West

Packer takes stake in NZ auction site
Packer takes stake in NZ auction site

Ellerston Capital, a fund manager controlled by Australian billionaire James Packer's family interests, has emerged as a substantial shareholder in online auction site Trade Me.

Sydney-based Ellerston, set up by the Packer family's holding company Consolidated Media Holdings in 2004, owns 5.18 per cent of Trade Me, according to a substantial security holder notice to the NZX.

Ellerston bought the shares in 19 separate transactions between April and August at an average share price of $A2.73 ($NZ3.56).

Trade Me went public last December when Fairfax Media sold down its holding to raise funds to support its publishing operations.

The stock was unchanged on NZX at $NZ3.87 today.

James Packer inherited the family company in 2005 after the death of his father, Australian businessman Kerry Packer. His investments include shares in various gaming and entertainment groups, including Melbourne's Crown Entertainment Complex, Macau's City of Dreams, Seven Network and Australia's pay television network, Foxtel.

Fairfax Media acquired Trade Me for $NZ750 million ($A580.29 million) in 2006. It reduced its stake via last year's initial public offering and in June sold down its holding in the Wellington-based company by 15 per cent at a discounted price of $A2.70 a share.

That leaves 51 per cent of Trade Me's stock in Fairfax hands.

The West Australian

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