Sir Ron Brierley

PHOTO: Sir Ron Brierley. Photo: Getty Images

Analysis – Prominent retired businessman Sir Ron Brierley‘s guilty plea to possession of child sex abuse images is the final fall from grace of a clinical corporate raider who operated on both sides of the Tasman for decades.

Having honed his skills in the 1970s, Brierley’s self-named investment company set about finding suitable targets.

It looked for the lame, the tired, the old, and the defenceless companies that were undervalued, underperforming, and ripe for taking.

Brierley Investments would make an offer that few chose to ignore. Having secured a prize it would then look to “add value” – more often than not through restructuring, taking out costs, dismemberment, asset sale, and then selling the core or rump of the target.

In the space of two decades, Brierley Investments had played with Air New Zealand, Dominion Breweries, New Zealand News (publishers of the now defunct Auckland and Christchurch Stars), Sky City Entertainment, New Zealand Insurance, Australia’s Fairfax Holdings, Rothmans, Britain’s Thistle Hotel chain, and the UK investment bank Guiness Peat.