☕️Slash and Burn

Allan Gray says Lendlease should cull 75% of corporate staff.

Good morning.

Allan Gray isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to Lendlease.

In fact, it sounds like the activist investor and contrarian fund manager is gearing up to demand a major headcount reduction at the construction company.

“They have a huge cost base at Lendlease. Their corporate or unallocated cost as a percentage of their invested capital is 2%. So before they've even woken up in the morning they’re behind 2% and that’s a hard thing to recover,” Allan Gray MD, Simon Mawhinney, told Capital Brief on the sidelines of the Allan Gray & Orbis Investment Forum in Sydney.

“I think that minus two should be a minus half [percent], so three quarters of the staff in the corporate office should probably disappear.”

ASX as at market close. Commodities and crypto in USD.

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Market movers

Shares in Webjet took off during trading on Wednesday, closing almost 8% up at $9.09. The surge came after the travel bookings provider reported its full-year profit quadrupled and outlined a plan to separate its wholesale WebBeds business from the consumer facing businesses. Net profit for the year to 31 March quadrupled to $72.7 million, while revenue jumped 29% to $471.3 million. UBS analysts called the B2B results "impressive" and noted improving revenue and margins more than offset softening domestic transaction value in the consumer businesses.

The quick sync

  • Anglo American has rejected a third takeover offer proposed by BHP on Wednesday, and given BHP one more week to submit an improved bid. (Capital Brief)

  • Sam Altman faces tough reputational recovery after OpenAI’s Scarlett Johansson PR disaster. (Capital Brief)

  • Shares in Buzzfeed briefly soared over 80% after Vivek Ramaswamy reported that he has taken a 7.7% stake in the online media company. (Bloomberg)

  • A Fair Work case brought by a former PwC graduate has raised questions around companies’ obligations to prevent workplace harassment from occurring. (Capital Brief)

  • UK inflation fell less than expected at 2.3% in April, prompting traders to pare back bets on June rate cuts. (Bloomberg)


  • Carlyle & Amicaa fund NZ fuel retailer NPD's $128m management buyout. (AFR)

  • Virgin Money shareholders voted to accept a £2.9 billion ($5.5 billion) takeover by building society Nationwide. (AFR)

  • Next Capital offloads enviro firm Enviropacific. (AFR)

  • Western General Bodyworks bankers at Kidder Williams have begun reaching out to prospective suitors for a second sale attempt. (AFR)

  • Namoi board rejects LDC offer, backs higher Olam bid. (Capital Brief)

  • Ethnolink buys Sydney translation firm Language Professionals. (BNA)

  • GrainCorp draws investor interest as assets are seen as undervalued. (The Australian)

Capital Markets

  • AIC Mines seeks $57.2m to expand Queensland copper mine. (AFR)

  • Top Shelf seeks $13.9m to cut debt, offers discount. (AFR)

  • AUB taps lawyers for a $200m raise to buy Pacific Indemnity. (Capital Brief)


  • Australian Open champ Aryna Sabalenka invests in Melbourne composting startup Great Wrap. (AFR)

  • Memobottle launches new bento boxes on Kickstarter, raising over $370,000. (Smart Company)

  • Scaleup Mediafund backs Hawke’s Brewing and Bare Funeral Group from its third fund, worth $15m. (Startup Daily)

People moves

  • Lendlease chair Ullmer to retire, board refresh planned. (Capital Brief)

  • Plenary shakes up the board after Abu Dhabi investment. (AFR)

  • Seek names Kendra Banks CFO, expands leadership team. (Capital Brief)

☝️ Know about a deal or people move we don’t? Hit reply.

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