Rinehart sells $50 million worth of shares in Fairfax Media

The fifth richest woman in the world, Gina Rinehart, has sold $50 million worth of her shares in Australian newspaper group Fairfax as she continues to push for a seat on the company's board, reports Financial Times.

Rinehart, nicknamed Big G, who owns a multi-billion dollar coal and iron ore empire has spent more than $500 million buying the media assets over the last year which, commentators say, she is able to do with "loose change."

Rinehart, 57, inherited Hancock Prospecting from her father Lang Hancock who discovered the world's largest iron deposit in the Pilbara region in 1952. When Rinehart took over 20 years ago the family firm was debt-ridden and struggling.  Since then she has built it into the world's number one private mining business.

Although she has never granted a media interview herself, after dropping $200 million early this year, she got to own 18.7% of $1.75 billion Fairfax. After the shares sell-off she still is the largest shareholder, with a 15% stake in the group, which almost definitely will grant her a seat on the board of publishers at the influential Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Financial Review. Fairfax controls about 30% of Australia's newspaper market with Rupert Murdoch owning the rest.

Fairfax is cutting about a fifth of its workforce, as part of a shakeup that aims to ensure the company's survival in the changing world of digital media.

Image is a video capture of Rinehart receiving the 2009 Telstra National Business Women's Awards