January 14, 2013 Comments

Shaw Communications announced after the close that it had sold its Mountain Cable franchise in Hamilton to Rogers for $400 million. Also Rogers bought for $50 million an option to buy Shaw’s wireless spectrum. Shaw bought the one third of TVtropolis from Rogers for $59 million (possibly Shaw already owned the rest of it?). The total deal was indicated to be $700 million after deducting the $59, so that seems to leave $300 million unexplained by the press release.

There was no indication if there was a loss or gain on the transaction. In any event whether it is a gain or loss, positive or negative, the share price should adjust for this at the open tomorow and there will likely be no opportunity to trade based on this information even if we knew if this was positive or negative. I would guess that it is at least slightly positive.

Shaw also announced the results of its election of directors. The main trading shares of Shaw are non-voting. I would have liked to vote and I would not have voted for Sheila Weatherill as a director. She is the former CEO of of the capital region health authority in Alberta who got a rather obscene severance package severalk years ago and then soon got a job on the Board of directors of Alberta Health.  And under her CEO watch (and signature) it was recently revealed that totally obscene expense claims were routinely approved and she was recently forced (that is my interpretation of her “resignation”) to resign from the Alberta Health Board. And oh yes she has just finished testifying before an inquiry that as health CEO she routinely informed hospital staff when VIPs were in their care but insisted unconvincingly that this was not preferential care. So she seems a rather tainted board candidate for Shaw Communications. And all this was in the news just in the past few weeks. So how did the vote turn out? Well, 12 of the board members received 100% approval with zero votes withheld. Four others including the (in my opinion) rather tainted Ms. Weatherill received over 99.99% approval with just 785 of 20,888,380 votes withheld. That kind of support sounds like something out of the Russian elections of the 1970’s. False democracies everywhere would be proud of such a farcical result. Some of the voting shares do trade and so it is incredible that only 785 shares were withheld from such a relatively notorious candidate. With online voting it is getting easier to vote our shares (when they carry a vote) and I have recently been voting my shares and typically withholding my vote from some candidates. Realistically it’s a total waste of time but maybe it will send a message in a few cases.