Monthly Archives: March 2019

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Quickflix shares in trading halt amid takeover speculation

Quickflix said it planned to release an update regarding a potential corporate transaction with an international party. Australian streaming and DVD rental business Quickflix has ignited rumours of a takeover after entering a trading halt on Thursday ahead of a potential acquisition.
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The struggling Perth-based business last traded at 0.002¢ after requesting a trading halt “pending release of an update regarding a potential corporate transaction with an international party which may result in an acquisition”.

Stephen Langsford, the company’s founder and chief executive, did not return calls.

The release does not specify if the potential acquisition would be made by Quickflix or whether the international party would purchase part, or all of the local streaming company.

However, with little cash in the bank, speculation is rife that Quickflix will be the subject of a takeover bid.

At its last quarter update in April, Quickflix had just $1.26 million in the bank, down from $2.4 million at the beginning of calendar 2015. In May, it raised a further $775,000 with the identity of the “professional” investors undisclosed.

Any sale of Quickflix may be complicated thanks to a warrant held by Nine Entertainment after it acquired around 8 per cent, or 83.3 million shares, of the business from HBO for $1 million, which entitles the broadcaster to a $10.5 million payout in the event of a merger on sale, on top of the shares in owns.

Quickflix has a market capitalisation of $4.4 million.

Quickflix has had just 123,553 million paying customers in the last quarter. However, the company does not comprehensively break down its streaming and DVD customers. Rather it states that 75 per cent of its customers have “access to streaming”.

In May, Quickflix brokered a deal to become a reseller of content for Presto, a joint venture streaming service between Seven West Media and Foxtel. It kept its pay-per-view and DVD businesses.

The local player, which listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2005 has struggled with the entry of new players into the subscription video on-demand space.

Dominated by US-based Netflix, 2015 has seen streaming services grow rapidly in popularity. Stan, which is a 50-50 venture between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media – publisher of The Australian Financial Review, and Presto are thought to hold the second and third positions in the streaming hierarchy.

While none of the three providers publish subscriber numbers, estimates put the total figure at 2 million.

Ashes 2015: Australia must ‘find a way’ in England and quickly, says Chris Rogers

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BIRMINGHAM: To see Chris Rogers in action at Edgbaston was a bit like watching a multilingual, worldly tour guide try to lead a bunch of wide-eyed Australian backpackers around some ancient ruins when all they are thinking about is the pub crawl later that night.

There is much knowledge inside the head of the 37-year-old opener in spite of the knocks he has copped to it of late. And with England now certain to prepare replica tracks to the one on which Australia were bowled out for 136 on Wednesday for the final two Tests, Rogers’ fellow batsmen would do well to listen up and try to follow his lead.

Australia’s struggles against the moving ball are nothing new – they had the same dramas on their last tour here two years ago – but he believes they must work out a way to adapt, and urgently.

“I don’t think the focus [of the batsmen] is wrong,” Rogers insisted after making 52, the only score north of 16 in Australia’s miserable first innings.

“I think everyone is desperate to do well. Finding a way, that is possibly a concern. Particularly in these conditions, which are a little bit foreign to guys. You’ve got to find a method and we’ve got to find it quickly, because I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a few more of these kind of conditions.”

Rogers’ 50, the ninth in his past 11 innings, was a characteristically gritty number made in challenging conditions that suited a rampant James Anderson, in particular, like the WACA suits Mitchell Johnson. In the face of that the Australians collapsed, only Rogers hanging in there and threatening to hold his bat until his own demise, lbw to Stuart Broad, on Wednesday afternoon. Not to make light of his on-field collapse at Lord’s, a real scare that had him in doubt for this match, but you couldn’t blame him if he was left dizzied as one after another, his colleagues departed.

On afternoons like this – the marathon partnership of Rogers and Steve Smith at Lord’s a distant memory – one can come to the assumption that the scrapping Australian innings of old is no more. Rogers, however, believes that is not fair.

“It’s hard to know. You can’t just look at it from today and that’s it,” he said. “Or just in England. I’ve been so fortunate to have a lot of experience over here, so maybe that counts for a lot and the other guys probably just don’t know the conditions as well.

“There’s been tough times when we’ve had to fight in Australia or wherever and they’ve managed to do it well. So I don’t think you can just look at today and say, no, the fight has gone, because I’m sure it hasn’t.”

Rogers also brushed off suggestions that the Australians had got ahead of themselves after their 405-run thrashing of England in the second Test.

“I don’t think so. I think we respect England and particularly their attack,” he said. ” A lot has been made of that second Test win and a lot was made of the first Test win. It’s one game, one game at a time.

“As cricketers you know the momentum can change so quickly. So I don’t think we got ahead of ourselves at all. I read a lot where people thought it was almost game over, but there’s no way you disrespect the opposition. Particularly when you get conditions like this.”

If it wasn’t already clear, Rogers’ one-out performance again reinforced a need for selectors to convince him to continue on past this series and not retire as he has indicated he would.

With captain Michael Clarke continuing to battle – if he can’t get out of his rut by the end of this series his career must be on the line – and fellow thirtysomething Adam Voges’ immediate future clouded by another poor stroke on day one, the prospect of losing Rogers is a worrying one.

He’s been asked repeatedly about the subject on this tour and is still not giving much away.

“I don’t know. It’s still a long way away,” he said. “I’m just enjoying what’s happening and I will weigh that up when we come to it.”

Hugh Bowman and Chris Waller to receive more gongs as Australian Turf Club celebrates premiership winners

WInners: Hugh Bowman and Chris Waller will be lauded for their superb seasons at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo: Tertius PickardThe Australian Turf Club will honour premiership winners and Jockeys Celebration Day as part of the opening meeting of the season at Rosehill on Saturday. Chris Waller will be presented with an award for his fifth consecutive premiership, while Hugh Bowman will be acknowledged in his absence, as he will be riding in Darwin. There will be a prayer and minute’s silence held between race four and five to acknowledge fallen jockeys, and the colours of the National Jockeys Trust will be carried in every race.
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RYAN’S RUNNERS

Gerald Ryan could make the perfect start to the new season with favoured runners in the opening two races at Rosehill but he is making no predictions after the spate of heavy tracks. Ryan will have either the highly touted King’s Troop or debut winner Shacked Up in the opening race of the season. “One of them will run, which will be decided later in the week. You don’t want to run two Arrowfield horses against each other,” Ryan said. “King’s Troop was good on debut despite getting run down, while Shacked Up won at Hawkesbury but other than this race there isn’t that much for her.” Land’s End, another of Ryan’s which was produced to score on his first visit to the races, has a fair bit of upside and the trainer will use Saturday as a guide to the future. “He is a nice horse that hasn’t raced for a month but he has had a trial in the meanwhile. We will probably find out where he stands after Saturday,” he said.

FEE RISE

Racing minister Troy Grant has announced a change in the race-field fee regulation to bring NSW into line with Victoria and Queensland from the start of the new season. The maximum fee will rise up to a four per cent fee on turnover from totalisator derived odds and up to 2.5 per cent on all other odds from a maximum of two per cent under the old provision. The change could pump millions of dollars into all three codes of racing. Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys welcomed the move. “This change provides room within the regulation for Racing NSW to make effective commercial decisions, including the need to keep pace with other states who may have higher fees than NSW and for any increases to be able to be absorbed by wagering operators,” V’landys said. “Totalisator derived odds means odds derived from or contingent on totalisators operated by the various TABs. Other wagering operators using these odds [rather than generating their own odds] will attract the higher fee.”

MH370: Which conspiracy theories can be ruled in and out?

Possible MH370 debris has washed up on the shore of Reunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean. Photo: Video still from ReutersWhat we know after debris foundBB670 key to unlocking mysteryFamilies face agonising waitTimeline to tragedySearch for MH370: full coverage
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Aviation experts say it is likely that a large object that washed up on the shore of Reunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean, is wreckage from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that vanished more than a year ago.

In the information vacuum that surrounded the plane’s disappearance in March 2014, speculation and theories abounded about what might have happened to the aircraft and all 239 people who were on board when it dropped off the radar.

Those theories ranged from the seemingly plausible, to the downright farcical.

In light of the potential breakthrough, we revisit the theories proposed at the time by experts and online sleuths to see whether their ideas could still hold true.

1. The plane was hijacked and flown to an airport in Kazakhstan. FALSE

Jeff Wise, a science journalist and author who researched the disappearance of MH370, released an e-book this year outlining his theory that the plane was hijacked on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s instruction and flown to an airport in Kazakhstan.

Wise argued that the flight’s data could have been tampered with by hijackers, and claimed to have found a place where the plane could have landed – an airstrip called Yubileyniy, part of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Some who examined Wise’s hypothesis regarded it as fanciful – which would seem an accurate assessment if the wreckage found overnight is confirmed as coming from MH370.

2 – Pilot suicide. POSSIBLE

While no evidence has emerged that the captain of the MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah or co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid died by suicide, the idea has been included in possible theories.

At least seven fatal incidents are believed to have been intentionally caused by pilots since 1982, including the Germanwings loss, which investigators believe happened when co-pilot Andreas Lubitz crashed the Airbus A320 after locking his captain out of the cockpit. Lubitz was later found to have been mentally unstable and undergoing medical treatment for depression.

3 – A catastrophic mechanical failure occurred – POSSIBLE

Some have suggested that there was a catastrophic mechanical failure on board the plane, causing it to disintegrate in mid-flight.

“The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,” a source involved in the investigations in Malaysia said at the time.

However, one aviation expert told the South China Morning Post at the time that it was mysterious that even if the plane had disintegrated, debris had not been detected on air traffic control radar.

The theory echoes the 2009 Air France tragedy when the plane disappeared over the Atlantic after it flew into turbulence en route to Paris.

It took five days for rescue teams to find the first bits of wreckage and another two years to find the bulk of the destroyed plane.

4 – The plane was shot down in a military exercise. UNLIKELY

One theory suggested the plane was accidentally shot down during a joint US-Thai military exercise in the South China Sea. It was proposed in a book called Flight MH370: The Mystery, by Nigel Cawthorne.

“The drill was to involve mock warfare on land, in water and in the air, and would include live-fire exercises,” Cawthorne wrote in his book.

However, the wreckage that washed up overnight was thousands of kilometres away.

5 – Plane was shot down while heading to US military base

In December, Marc Dugain, the former head of a French regional airline, suggested the plane had been shot down by the US because it was heading towards its military base on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

Reunion and Diego Garcia are about 2400 kilometres apart in the Indian Ocean, but there is no evidence to suggest this theory is correct.

6 – Terrorist hijacking – POSSIBLE

The plane turned wildly off course, its communications systems were “deliberately” disconnected and it carried on flying south over the Indian Ocean on the day it disappeared, leading some to speculate that the plane had been hijacked.

Authorities have found no motive nor any evidence to say definitively that the plane was hijacked.

7 – Plane caught on fire soon after take off – UNLIKELY

New Zealander Mike McKay had been working on the Songa Mercur oil rig in the South China Sea when he saw an “orange light” in the sky on the day MH370 disappeared.

His initial statement described what he believed to be an aircraft on fire at a high altitude.

The fire burned itself out in about 10 to 15 seconds and he gave an exact location based on his position on the oil rig platform.

However, his sighting could be discounted due to the distance from Reunion, where the wreckage washed up.



Queensland Reds re-sign Japan international Hendrik Tui

Hendrik Tui in action for Japan against the All Blacks. Photo: Toru HanaiThe Queensland Reds have retained one of their marquee recruits from this season, with Japan international Hendrik Tui re-signing for 2016.
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Tui had limited game time for the Reds this season, arriving from Suntory Sungoliath, playing just the final two Super Rugby games after breaking his leg with the Japanese club.

The Auckland-born number eight has 28 Japan caps after a decade-long stint in Tokyo, arriving in the Japanese capital as a 19-year-old.

His retention is a boon for the Reds, after former All Black flanker Adam Thomson signed with the Rebels.

That move is believed to be leaving the door open for an international flyhalf search, despite young 10s Jake McIntyre and Sam Greene committing on Wednesday.

With Cooper now gone, first to Toulon, then reportedly for an Olympic sevens tilt and now at the centre of an ongoing contract saga, the Reds are likely to look abroad for an experienced 10 to take the pressure off their youngsters.

Queensland are in the market for a foreign number 10, with their foreign marquee spot open following Thomson’s departure and former France International Frederic Michalak has reportedly been discussed.

Former Waratahs lock Kane Douglas is yet to be announced as a 2016 signing but is likely to be heading for the Reds and a possible Wallabies spot.

This time last year Queensland were on the verge of announcing the recruiting coups of James O’Connor and Karmichael Hunt at their annual gala dinner, a time that seems far removed from their present state of flux.

Reds coach Richard Graham said it was good to have Tui signed for next season.

“He made it very clear he wanted to return to Ballymore and be involved with the squad moving forward,” he said.

“With the expansion of Super Rugby (to Japan and Argentina) and other options available, it says a lot about his character.”