Australian dollar lower on plane crash




On Friday morning, the dollar was trading at 93.56 US cents.

On Friday morning, the dollar was trading at 93.56 US cents.
Source: Supplied



THE Australian dollar is lower after US and European stocks tumbled on news of a plane crash in rebel-held east Ukraine.


At 0630 AEST on Friday, the local currency was trading at 93.56 US cents, down from 93.71 cents on Thursday.

A Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has crashed in rebel-held east Ukraine in what has been called a “terrorist” attack.



$85b takeover offer ‘hard to resist’

Rupert Murdoch’s film and entertainment group 21st Century Fox is negotiating one of the

Rupert Murdoch’s film and entertainment group 21st Century Fox is negotiating one of the world’s biggest media mergers.
Source: News Corp Australia



TIME Warner’s New York billionaire shareholders have declared it’s “tough to say no” to Rupert Murdoch’s bombshell $85 billion bid to merge his 21st Century Fox with its global entertainment and media empire.


The audacious bid to create the world’s biggest media and entertainment company, with a market value of $160 billion, would be the biggest play of the 83-year-old’s lifetime of deal making.

As shares in Time Warner soared 17 per cent to a few dollars shy of Mr Murdoch’s offer price, billionaire fund managers who own shares in Time Warner said the board would find it tough to resist, particularly if Mr Murdoch comes back with a higher offer.

Ken Griffin, chief executive of hedge fund firm Citadel, said the deal made sense for the company’s shareholders.


TERRY McCRANN: MURDOCH AS AUDACIOUS AS EVER IN MEDIA BID


MURDOCH’S PLAN FOR MEDIA JUGGERNAUT

And Mario Gabelli, chief executive of Gamco Investors, called it “hard for a board to turn down.”

“It’s going to get tough to say no,” Mr Griffin said at a conference in New York overnight on Thursday.

“Murdoch has a history of being willing to go the extra mile to get deals done that are important to him.”

Mr Griffin’s $20 billion investment firm held stakes in both 21st Century Fox and Time Warner as of March 31.

The takeover bid is not expected to end with Time Warner’s knock-back on July 3, but for now it is keeping a firm hold on its prized assets, including CNN, Warner Bros films and HBO.

Time Warner.

Time Warner.
Source: News Corp Australia

Time Warner’s board rejected the offer of $85 a share, despite the $US25 billion mark-up on its company value, saying in a statement that its own strategic plan would deliver more value.

Analysts speculated this would be the opening salvo in what could be months of negotiations as Time Warner declared its strategy “superior to any proposal that 21st Century Fox is in a position to offer”.

But Time Warner is understood to be seeking another $US30 billion.

In a statement on Thursday 21st Century Fox confirmed the offer and the knock back.

“We are not currently in any discussions with Time Warner,” the statement said.

Time Warner shares in New York soared 17 per cent to $83.13, the biggest gain in 14 years, after news of the deal broke on Wednesday night local time.

Shares in 21st Century Fox lost ground, closing 4.64 per cent down at $32.57.

If Mr Murdoch’s “mega bid” gets over the line, Australian viewers are expected to share in the spoils, analysts say.

The offer revealed how much value 21st Century Fox is placing on content.

Unless a rival bid emerges, potentially from a Silicon Valley heavyweight such as Google, Mr Murdoch is looking at a much greater arsenal of content choices – from US college basketball to HBO’s Game of Thrones and Warner Brothers movies – to attract and retain viewers.

How that content reaches Australian viewers could change significantly.

Already companies such as Netflix, Google and Apple have invested heavily in subscriber-based versions of TV stations, while for Fox, apps modelled on Time Warner’s successful HBO Go could be introduced here.

Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones.
Source: Supplied

The Big Bang Theory.

The Big Bang Theory.
Source: Supplied

Ellen DeGeneres.

Ellen DeGeneres.
Source: News Limited

Gravity.

Gravity.
Source: Supplied

Originally published as $85b takeover offer ‘hard to resist’

‘What homelessness taught me’

Jamie Green started One Night Stand after a rough patch in his life.

Jamie Green started One Night Stand after a rough patch in his life.
Source: Supplied


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The ad for the Make a Stand crowdfunding campaign by One Night Stand sleepwear to tackle youth homelessness. Courtesy: YouTube/One Night Stand Sleepwear



TWO years ago, 25-year old Jamie Green found himself sleeping rough on friends’ couches and on the floor of his floundering cafe. Now he’s running a fledgling social enterprise and giving something back.


Mr Green has been a perennial entrepreneur since he was 17 when he started his own line of jewellery products. A couple more successful enterprises led him to amass the funds for his fourth business, a Melbourne cafe.

Within six months, the Queensland native found everything was going wrong. Mr Green moved out of his rented accommodation as he desperately diverted his money into his business, trying to keep it afloat.

“I couldn’t afford to pay rent and started couch surfing and then slept on the floor of the cafe,” he told news.com.au. “At the time I didn’t think too much of it as I was a battling entrepreneur. Later on, as I was reflecting on the situation I developed a strong passion for youth homelessness, how people ended up in that situation and what support was available.”

Luckily for Mr Green, he managed to sell the cafe and used the proceeds to pay off his debts.

In thinking about his next venture, he started looking into starting a not-for-profit or becoming a social worker. “But that wasn’t in my personality,” he said. “I’d always been an entrepreneur. So I picked up this book by Richard Branson called Screw Business As Usual which talked about using business as a force for good.

Richard Branson served as an inspiration for Jamie Green.

Richard Branson served as an inspiration for Jamie Green.
Source: News Limited

“I hadn’t thought about the two — business and social enterprise — together until then.”

From that revelation, Mr Green was accepted into an incubator program which helped him form his concept for One Night Stand, a sleepwear brand that seeks to alleviate youth homelessness.

After months of testing, One Night Stand was officially launched with an experiential stunt and crowd-funding campaign through ING Direct’s Dreamstarter program. Mr Green stood on a Melbourne CBD street inside a Perspex box for 24-hours to raise awareness of his company and cause. It brought in $27,000 within the week from people pre-purchasing his sleepwear range. It was enough money to kick off manufacturing the first line.

Taking inspiration from US shoe brand Toms (which gives away a pair of shoes to an impoverished child with every pair sold), Mr Green’s model works on that with every purchase from One Night Stand, his company will provide a meal to homeless youth.

Working with Open Family Australia, he said it’s not just about providing a meal. “The meal is just an attraction for homeless youth, it’s about building relationships and rapport with people, and having a chat, helping them into programs and employment, and gaining skills and confidence.

“Homelessness is such a huge issue and it’s so broad. There’s no one solution for the problem. There are many different tiers and it includes not having a job and sleeping in your car. Actors and comedians often get themselves into that situation.

“Everyone’s different. Some are really keen to study and get a job. For others it’s hard because once you start running in that circle, it’s hard to break out of it. My experience led me to a different path.”

Jamie Green borrowed his concept from Toms.

Jamie Green borrowed his concept from Toms.
Source: Supplied

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 26,238 homeless people aged between 12 and 24 on Census night in 2011. But the ABS warned homeless youth are likely to be underestimated because many young people couch surfing with mates weren’t distinguishable from people who were just visiting friends for the night.

Mr Green said he has also started looking into how One Night Stand can launch an employment program for young people. In the meantime, he’s focused on getting One Night Stand stocked in a large retailer and looking to partner with someone who can help them reduce their international shipping costs with 20 per cent of the business’ sales coming from the US.

This week, the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance will convene in Sydney to tackle the issue of global youth unemployment and underemployment.

One Night Stand’s range.

One Night Stand’s range.
Source: Supplied

While Australia has compared favourably with many countries around the world, including those which were hit by the eurozone crisis, the issue of youth unemployment has again come to the fore locally with controversial budget proposals which would see young people stripped of Centrelink benefits for six-month blocks.

The EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer found small businesses accounted for 69 per cent of overall employment growth in Australia.

G20 Young Entrepreneur’s Alliance spokesman Aaron McNeilly said in a statement: “I invite Australia’s leading entrepreneurs, small business owners and the organisations that support them to join us at the G20YEA Summit to instigate change and ultimately transform the lives of youth not only in Australia, but from all over the world.”

Freelancer.com chief executive Matt Barrie, a speaker at the event, said: “Entrepreneurship is the solution for young people in Australia, and globally, who are struggling to find work.”

‘We will regret day’ carbon tax axed


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Climate Spectator’s Tristan Edis explains how direct action works, how it compares to the carbon tax and whether Australia should just buy permits from overseas to meet its obligations.


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Political editor Malcolm Farr tells us what to expect now the carbon tax has been repealed.

Finally able to raise a smile ... Treasurer Joe Hockey during Question Time at Parliament

Finally able to raise a smile … Treasurer Joe Hockey during Question Time at Parliament House today.
Source: Getty Images



JUST as the sky did not fall in when the carbon tax was introduced, nor will the sunshine break with its repeal.


Today is a triumph of short term politics over long term policy making.

CARBON TAX AXED: Tony Abbott finally gets his way

POLL: Most voters want carbon tax scrapped

At the margins, certainty on the repeal of the carbon tax will give business confidence. But they’ll remain nervous about the Senate’s plans to derail the government’s budget fix.

Longer term, climate change remains a real threat to our economy, which is already prone to drought and floods.

CARBON TAX .. CO2 Polution Pic. Thinkstock Pic. Thinkstock

It won’t suddenly disappear … climate change remains a real threat to our economy. Picture: Thinkstock
Source: Supplied

60 HOURS OF DEBATE: Carbon tax bites the dust

CARBON TAX: Your questions answered

The overwhelming majority of scientists still believe increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere will trap heat close to the earth, warming temperatures, heating oceans and changing weather patterns.

Those changes will negatively impact a range of industries, from agriculture to insurance.

Scrapping the legislation underpinning Australia’s carbon price, as the Senate has today, throws the baby out with the bathwater.

Economists agree a carbon price was the lowest-cost, most effective solution to the problem of climate change.

Australia’s substantial legal framework around emissions trading was almost a decade in the making, soaking up a lot of time and resources to design and put in place.

It should have been allowed to remain in place, albeit with a reduction in the carbon price from a fixed price of around $25 a tonne of carbon to the floating international price, which is more like $7.

Sure, after today, big polluters will pay less thanks to the tax’s repeal. Households — who forget they were already fully compensated for rises in electricity costs through tax cuts and welfare payments — will enjoy a double dividend if the government is successful in getting companies to refund them the cost of the tax too.

But Australia will be left without a market-based policy designed to re-engineer our economy towards a lower carbon path.

We will come to regret this day.

Australia is already prone to drought and flood ... We will come to regret this day.

Australia is already prone to drought and flood … We will come to regret this day.
Source: News Limited

Pay cut you didn’t know about





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Minister for Health Peter Dutton tells moneysaverHQ’s Moira Geddes why everyone needs private health insurance to stay well.

You may have noticed your pay packet was a little lighter this month.

You may have noticed your pay packet was a little lighter this month.
Source: ThinkStock



DID your pay packet feel a little lighter this week?


You may noticed your take-home pay has gone down a little since the financial year kicked in two weeks ago. You might be scratching your head and wondering if you jumped a HECS bracket or if it was that superannuation increase.

But actually, it’s because the Medicare levy has grown from 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent. With all the kerfuffle surrounding this year’s budget announcements, you’d be forgiven for letting the levy increase slip your mind. It was, after all, announced in the 2013 budget under the previous government and so many other budget-y things have come along since then.

The money from the half a per cent jump will be placed in the DisabilityCare Australia Fund, which will be used to for any additional costs needed for delivering the National Disability Insurance. Scheme.

So how much extra will you fork out a year?

$30,000 — $150

$40,000 — $200

$50,000 — $250

$60,000 — $300

$70,000 — $350

$80,000 — $400

$90,000 — $450

$100,000 — $500

$100,000 plus – add an extra $50 for every $10,000.

Of course, some people have also seen their take-home pays go down as a result of superannuation changes. If your salary agreement is a package (ie. the figure is wage and superannuation in one), then there’ll be a small decrease of 0.25 per cent which has been redirected to your superannuation payments. Superannuation contributions jumped from 9.25 per cent to 9.5 per cent on July 1.

If your salary is wage plus super, then it won’t have affected what gets deposited into your bank account. And you’ll get a couple of extra bills in your super.



The $5K pay rise you’re missing out on

Want $5000? Don’t expect it from a pay rise, there’s an easier way to get your hands on s

Want $5000? Don’t expect it from a pay rise, there’s an easier way to get your hands on some extra funds.
Source: Getty Images


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David Koch offers some tips on how to budget successfully.



MISSED out on that pay rise this year? Still sore about it?


Well there’s a better way of snaring those much-needed funds and it’s easier than you think.

As it turns out, you’re probably among the 86 per cent of Australians who are leaving hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the table every year when it comes to personal and household expenses.

Or perhaps you’re among more than half who “set and forget” your utility providers which could be costing you up to $5000, or the equivalent of a pay rise or overseas holiday, a survey has revealed.

According to research conducted by Lonergan Research on behalf of low cost mobile service provider amaysim, three in five of us, or 62 per cent, consider ourselves to be rational decision makers.

But despite a vast majority believing they could be saving more, 15 per cent are unwilling to put the effort in to do so.

And 40 per cent admit they deliberately put off changing providers on anything from mobile phones to home loans, despite knowing a change would save them hundreds.

According to Ark Total Wealth senior financial adviser Chris Magnus, this was not surprising.

He said many Aussies chose to stay in a “budget rut” instead of undertaking a financial tune-up and this “money-saving paralysis” could add up to $5000 every year.

For example, an amaysim customer survey conducted earlier this year found savvy phone users could save up to $448 a year simply by switching providers.

He said other factors such as failing to transfer to transfer a credit card balance could also cost the average holder up to $1500 a year.

Forget loyalty, switching your balance transfer on your credit card can save you hundreds

Forget loyalty, switching your balance transfer on your credit card can save you hundreds.
Source: News Limited

Switching electricity providers, as well as restructuring your mortgage, could also add up to thousands.

Mr Magnus said a simple switch on a $500,000 mortgage you could save up to $3500 a year.

And he warned it was just the tip of the iceberg, as people thought it was easier to stay with their existing service provider than switch.

“People do get complacent or think it’s too hard,” he told news.com.au

“But one of the first things I tell every client is that, if you take care of the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves.”

Mr Magnus admitted most people didn’t like saving for the sake of saving, yet could be pocketing $5000 without even trying just through making simple changes.

Michelle Hutchinson, money expert at financial comparison site finder.com.au, said she wasn’t surprised consumers were missing out on money every year.

She added that savings were crucial, even if people had nothing to save for.

“Saving the equivalent of three month’s pay is recommended as a good safety net in case you lose your job,” she said.

“Saving towards a goal such as buying a home or a holiday is motivating and can have positive psychological benefits.”

She said it made sense for some people to have no savings if they didn’t have any goals to save for, but that saving also went hand in hand with financial literacy and discipline.

“You need to make an effort with keeping track of your spending, setting and reviewing a budget, and comparing your financial products,” Ms Hutchison said.

“Without understanding how your financial products work and how much they really cost, and by being complacent about your money, you will never be able to save.”

You might not be able to have this every night but could afford a glass more often throug

You might not be able to have this every night but could afford a glass more often through simple money saving tips.
Source: Supplied

Still stuck on a budget rut, or unable to save?

Here are Mr Magnus’s money saving tips.

1. Separate your savings on payday:

“The best way to save is to limit what you have available in your access account to spend,” he said.

2. Prioritise paying off credit cards

He said a simple refinance to a 0 per cent interest could save hundreds while people should pay off credit cards before starting a saving plan.

3. Shop smart:

“Plan your meals for the week and look at the price per 100g on specials when shopping to make sure you’re getting the best deal,” Mr Magnus said.

4. Set a budget and stick to it:

Being organised is the key to financial freedom.

5. Start small:

Review your personal and household bills and find simple savings. It could add up to big bucks.

6. Choose wisely:

For instance, find the mobile phone plan that’s right for your needs, rather than paying for what you’re not using. It could save you hundreds in the long run.

7. Sense-check your mortgage:

Don’t be afraid to refinance, and always go for the best deal.

8. Spend super, not savings:

Paying insurance with pre-tax dollars from your super could save you big dollars as it is taxed at a lower rate.

Property: to buy or not to buy?


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Property expert Chris Gray talks to moneysaverHQ’s Moira Geddes about current property market conditions and settles the score over whether to buy or rent.

Is home ownership weighing you down? There could be a reason for that. Illustration: John

Is home ownership weighing you down? There could be a reason for that. Illustration: John Tiedemann
Source: News Limited



BELIEF in the financial benefit of home ownership is a deeply held conviction for many Australians.


Rent money is dead money. You have to get a foot in the door before it’s too late; the financial advice from parents and peers comes thick and fast.

(Declaration of interest: I rent.)

But a new paper by two researchers at the Reserve Bank, Ryan Fox and Peter Tulip, has committed the financial equivalent of blasphemy by casting doubt on whether it’s always better to buy. (Declaration from the authors: one owns and one rents).

Their startling discovery is that over the past 60 years, the average cost of home ownership (after any offsetting increase in home value) has been about the same as the average cost of renting.

The historical answer to the age-old question of whether it’s best to rent or buy? It’s a lineball call.

But how can that be, when we all know house prices have gone through the roof?

Well, in calculating the benefits of home ownership, most people overlook the significant — and often hidden — costs of home ownership.

For renters, they pay rent and that’s where the buck stops.

But homeowners face a myriad of costs including interest on their mortgage (which is substantial over the life of a loan), ongoing running costs like council rates and water, the need to invest in home improvements and significant transaction costs, like stamp duty and conveyancing fees.

These significant costs must be deducted from any increase in house prices.

And the long run average increase in house prices is not as large as most people probably think.

While property moves in cycles, the value of the average home has only grown by an average of 2.4 per cent plus inflation over the past 60 years.

Owning a home has proved about as expensive as renting.

So should you rent versus buy? It turns out that depends entirely on where you think house prices are heading from here.

House prices ... where to from here?

House prices … where to from here?
Source: Supplied

“If real house prices grow at their historical average pace, then owning a home is about as expensive as renting,” the authors of the paper state.

If house prices were to grow more quickly, you’d be better off buying.

However, “if prices grow more slowly, as some forecasters predict, the framework used in this paper suggest that the average homebuyer would be financially better off renting.”

Where is that crystal ball when you need it?

House prices are notoriously unpredictable and depend upon many factors including population growth and the pace at which new homes can be built.

The real point of the Reserve’s research was not to provide financial advice about whether to rent or buy, but to test whether house prices — high historically compared to incomes — are overvalued. The title of their paper was, after all, “Is Housing Overvalued”.

They find that while it’s true that house prices have risen dramatically compared to incomes, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are overvalued — particularly given the shift to structurally lower interest rates which has boosted borrowing capacity.

Fox and Tulip prefer a different yardstick for whether property is overvalued: whether people are paying significantly more to own a home than to rent it.

Their conclusion is: we’re not.

“Recent data do not show signs of a bubble,” they find.

So would-be homeowners waiting for prices to fall before they enter the market could well end up frustrated.

Those looking for an easy answer to the question of rent versus buy will be disappointed by the Reserve’s research. In short, the answer is: it depends.

It depends on future house price growth in the area in which you plan to buy.

It also depends how long you intend to stay in a property — with longer stays shifting the equation in favour of buying. Staying longer in a home — the typical owner stays for 10 years — spreads out the upfront cost of stamp duty. And given property prices move in cycles, longer stays make you less exposed to a couple of years of weak house price growth.

Whether it makes sense to buy or rent also depends on your personal preferences. Do you value the security of homeownership and the ability to drive nails into walls? Or do you value the flexibility and freedom to move that renting brings?

The Reserve Bank hasn’t answered any of these questions for you.

What it has shown is that, over a long period of time, the cost of renting has been about on par with the cost of owning.

Main message: don’t assume it’s always best to buy. If house prices grow at below their long term average pace, it may well be better to rent.

Property ownership is not worth it at any cost.

Originally published as Property: to buy or not to buy?

Senate chaos to help your hip pocket





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The Abbott government has again passed carbon tax repeal legislation through the lower house of parliament.



MOTORISTS won’t have to pay higher petrol taxes from August 1 as planned after the government today parked legislation to increase the excise because it wouldn’t pass the Senate.


And the government has again deferred a final vote to scrap the carbon tax in the upper house by instead moving a bill to dismantle Labor’s mining tax.

The carbon price repeal was to have been a priority today, but the government is still negotiating with crossbenchers.

A number of measures meant to start on July 1, such as changes to family tax benefits, have already been put off because the government can’t guarantee it will win a Senate vote.

Refueling. Petrol pump. Bowser. Thinkstock. Generic image.

Petrol prices will not rise on August 1, as planned.
Source: Supplied

The bid to add some $2.2 billion to fuel excise over four years and fund massive roadworks would not get the votes of Labor, the Greens, or at least four of the 10 crossbench senators — three from the Palmer United Party and the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party’s Ricky Muir.

The government instead immediately moved legislation that would dismantle the Labor government’s mining tax, an indication it is not yet confident of the numbers to repeal the carbon pricing system.

The twice-a-year increase in fuel excise — frozen since 2001 — was to have started this August but Parliament will rise for a five-week break on Thursday without dealing with the legislation.

It was one of the most contentious measures in the May Budget. The twice-a-year excise jump would add just 55¢ a week to a family’s petrol expenses in its first year, according to the government.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in question time today. Picture: Gary Ramage

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in question time today. Picture: Gary Ramage
Source: News Corp Australia

However, the Greens have complained the money raised will go to roadworks and increased use of cars, while low-income families will not get better public transport connections to avoid the tax rise.

The Senate standoff also threatens Tony Abbott’s ambitions to be remembered as the “Infrastructure Prime Minister”.

The government’s decision was revealed in a motion to “rearrange government business” moved as soon as the Senate opened for business this afternoon.

Motorists can expected some relief at the bowser.

Motorists can expected some relief at the bowser.
Source: News Limited



Samsung supplier embroiled in child labour scandal




SAMSUNG Electronics Co. said it has suspended business ties with a Chinese supplier that

SAMSUNG Electronics Co. said it has suspended business ties with a Chinese supplier that allegedly hired children.
Source: AFP



SAMSUNG Electronics Co. said it has suspended business ties with a Chinese supplier that allegedly hired children.


The South Korean company, which is the world’s biggest smartphone maker, said in its blog Monday that it had found possible evidence of child labour and illegal hiring at Dongguan Shinyang Electronics Co.

Samsung said last week it would urgently look into the Chinese supplier following a New York-based watchdog’s report that it hired at least five children under the age of 16.

China Labor Watch said children as well as minors under 18 worked at Shinyang for three to six months to meet production targets during a period of high demand. The watchdog said the child workers were paid for 10 hours a day but worked 11 hours.

The report detailed 15 labour violations discovered during its undercover investigation. They included child labour, the absence of safety training, no overtime wages and no social insurance for temporary workers, who constituted at least 40 per cent of 1,200 employees at the Chinese mobile phone parts supplier for Samsung.

China Labour Watch’s report came shortly after Samsung said its audit found no child labour at hundreds of Chinese suppliers. Samsung began inspecting its Chinese suppliers after the labour watchdog raised the child labour issue in 2012.

Samsung said Chinese authorities are investigating the case and if the investigation finds child labour, Samsung will permanently stop doing business with Shinyang.



DJs to be foreign-owned as offer approved




Shareholders are voting on David Jones’ fate on Monday morning.

Shareholders are voting on David Jones’ fate on Monday morning.
Source: AFP



DAVID Jones shareholders have overwhelmingly backed a $2.2 billion foreign takeover of Australia’s oldest department store.


Almost 97 per cent of shares were voted to accept the $4-a-share offer from South African retailer Woolworths Holdings – well above the 75 per threshold needed for the bid to succeed.

Some shareholders expressed concern about the sale of an “iconic” Australian business, but chairman Gordon Cairns said the offer was a “significant premium” on the value of their shares. He said the takeover was the best way forward for the department store.

“We believe this takeover is good for shareholders, customers and staff,” he told the shareholder meeting in Sydney on Monday.

Solomon Lew with former DJs boss Mark McInnes.

Solomon Lew with former DJs boss Mark McInnes.
Source: Supplied

There had been concern billionaire Solomon Lew, who owns 9.9 per cent of David Jones could move to block the takeover amid a dispute with Woolworths SA about fashion retailer Country Road.

However, there was no word from Mr Lew or his representative at the meeting, but he appears to have abstained from the vote. Woolworths has offered to buy Mr Lew’s 12 per cent stake in Country Road for more than $200 million in order to get the David Jones takeover across the line.

Some shareholders criticised the deal, arguing the money should have instead been used to increase the $4 a share offer.

Woolworths chief executive Ian Moir was not at the meeting after being advised by doctors not to fly following a back operation two weeks ago.

David Jones entered a trading halt ahead of the meeting. The stock last traded at $3.93.