Ron Brierley

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Sir Ron Brierley
Ronald Alfred Brierley

(1937-08-02) 2 August 1937 (age 82)
Wellington, New Zealand
OccupationChairman and director of several companies
Known forInvesting
Corporate Raiding

Sir Ronald Alfred Brierley (born 2 August 1937) is a New Zealand born investor and corporate raider, chairman and director of a number of companies in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.[1]

He founded "R. A. Brierley Investments" (BIL; from October 2007 GuocoLeisure [2]) in March 1961 with no capital. By 1984 BIL was the largest company in New Zealand by market capitalization, and in 1987 had 160,000 shareholders, with a stake in over 300 companies, including Paris department store Galleries Lafayette and Air New Zealand.[3][4]

Personal life[edit]

Ron Brierley was born in Wellington during 1937 to middle class parents. He went to primary school at Island Bay School,[5] and Wellington College.[6]

At Wellington College he joined the New Stamp Dealers Federation, and began his first business venture selling stamps to students and staff.[7] He is still one of the largest buyers and sellers of stamps in the world, and he is recognised by the name "Lionheart".[8]

Brierley's investiture as a Knight Bachelor by the Governor-General, Sir Paul Reeves, at Government House, Wellington, in May 1988

Brierley is a fan of cricket, being a Trustee of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust 1988–96, and President of New Zealand Cricket in 1995.[4] He also likes travelling by train.[9] He was made a Knight Bachelor in the 1988 New Year Honours, for services to business management and the community.[10]

On 18 December 2019 various news outlets reported that Brierley had been arrested in Sydney on charges of possession of child pornography.[11]

Business career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Brierley began his career as the publisher of a horse racing tip sheet. He followed this with an investment analysis newsletter "Stocks and Shares" which he founded in 1956 at age 19.[12] This sought to identify undervalued special situations and suggest what could be done with the companies.

His first bid via R.A.Brierley Investments Ltd was for the Otago Farmers Co-Operative Association in July 1961, which had become attractive as a target due to its cheapness, its unusual legal structure and the company being moved to an unofficial NZX bourse due to failing to comply with exchange listing requirements.[12] While Brierley's offer was rejected, the company was forced into a change in policy and the market price of the company leapt upwards.

Other targets of Brierley's activist investment style in the 1960s and 1970s included the Southern Cross Building Society, the Finance Corporation of New Zealand, Citizens and Graziers and the Southern Farmers Co-operative Ltd in Australia.[12] Many of these companies shares similar traits in that they were largely family controlled, inefficient, with lazy balance sheets, complacent management and surplus assets.[12]

Brierley's view was that his holding company, Brierley Investments Ltd, was "a monitoring organisation that continually evaluated the performance of various companies and acted as a catalyst to promote the most effective ownership of a company."[13]

Post BIL[edit]

On 29 March 1990 Brierley was appointed chairman of investment holding company Guinness Peat Group (GPG). As chairman Brierley publicly attacked and defeated the plan to merge the London Stock Exchange with Deutsche Börse in 2001.[14]

In December 2015 Brierley, through his new company, Mercantile Investments, launched a hostile takeover of Australian shipping company Richfield International.[15]


  • "Ron is direct – he likes to call a spade, a spade." Blake Nixon, GPG's managing director
  • "Ron and Gary Weiss don't often come second when they fight, and when they do, they usually walk away with a lot of money." – Investment banker[16]


  1. ^ "Insider Profiles – Ronald Brierley". Yahoo! Finance Australia & NZ. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  2. ^ "GuocoLeisure Limited – Company Profile Snapshot". Retrieved 28 December 2007.
  3. ^ Dann, Liam (31 October 2007). "Name change severs link with Sir Ron". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Brierley Chief Plans to Retire". New York Times. 28 August 1989. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  5. ^ "History". Island Bay School. Archived from the original on 17 September 2007. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  6. ^ Beyer, Georgina; Casey, Cathy (1999). Change for the better: the story of Georgina Beyer. Auckland: Random House. p. 18. ISBN 1-86941-371-7.
  7. ^ "Examination of NZ Entreprepreneurs". McLean and Co. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  8. ^ Mark Russell, 'Lionheart' caught up in fight for stamps', The Age, 23 June 2014, p. 13
  9. ^ Watts, Robert (16 July 2006). "Small beer for Brierley?". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  10. ^ London Gazette (supplement), No. 51173, 30 December 1987. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  11. ^ "Reports businessman arrested over possession of child porn". Stuff. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d Carlisle, Tobias (2014). Deep Value: Why Activist Investors and other Contrarians Battle for control of Losing Corporations. USA: Wiley. pp. Chapter 7 (Kindle Edition). ISBN 1118747968.
  13. ^ Van Dongen, Yvonne (1990). The Man behind the Corporate Legend. New Zealand: Penguin Books (NZL). ISBN 0670831247.
  14. ^ English, Simon (21 March 2001). "Exchange merger 'bad for investors'". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2007.
  15. ^ "Brierley's vehicle targets shipping firm". Stuff. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  16. ^ Hewett, Jennifer (9 November 2002). "Wellington's boot boys are back". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 21 November 2007.

External links[edit]