High profile Brisbane businesswoman Jenny Hutson to face multiple ASIC charges
Written on the 3 April 2018 by Paris Faint
When she was the chair of childcare giant G8 Education, Jenny Hutson stood at the centre of the company's botched takeover bid of Affinity Education.
Now, almost three years following the failed acquisition, Hutson is set to face the music in court against charges of dishonesty and misconduct during her tenure.
Following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), Hutson has been charged with multiple offences.
These include two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice under the Crimes Act and 15 counts of giving false and misleading information under the ASIC Act.
Further charges include 10 counts of authorising the giving of false or misleading information to an operator of a financial market, as well as two counts of dishonest use of position as a director under the Corporations Act.
Hutson also faces one count of dishonestly failing to exercise her powers and discharge her duties as a director under the Corporations Act.
ASIC laid the charges following an investigation which referenced G8 Education's failed takeover of Affinity Education in 2015, a scheme in which Hutson was the key player.
OLD WOUNDS REOPEN: WHERE IT WENT WRONG WITH G8 AND AFFINITY
G8 approached Affinity in April 2015 to negotiate a takeover which would have added a potential 161 childcare centres to the G8 portfolio.
At the time, Affinity was a listed company and the proposed deal became subject to a Takeovers Panel probe which ultimately cost Hutson her job after it was discovered that she had connections with three separate companies that also had fingers in the Affinity pie.
Hutson was connected to Taxonomy, JB Superfund and WestBridge Holdings; all companies which had acquired a significant stake in Affinity Education and were questioned in relation to close connections with G8 Education.
The Takeovers Panel ordered that the Affinity shares accepted by G8 from Taxonomy be sold off following the probe.
The Panel also ordered G8 to withdraw its acceptances from JB Super Fund and WestBridge Holdings.
Hutson resigned from the board just days after the takeover collapsed and Affinity Education was instead sold to private equity group Anchorage Capital Partners for $212 million.
It was widely understood that Hutson was forced to bear the brunt of responsibility for the failed Affinity deal.
Author: Paris Faint