The Australian investment universe is pretty small. For most investors who lack the time or expertise to pick needles in this (relatively small) haystack, the better approach may be just to buy the whole thing.

A good illustration of why this works is currently playing out in real time on the ASX. Bunnings is trying to buy Priceline – but Woolworths has lobbed in an offer to buy it too.


So, if you own Woolworths shares only, or Bunnings shares only, i.e. if you’ve picked a needle, then, you might be following this deal closely and actually care about the outcome. But if you own both, it’s a moot point and you can carry on with your day unaffected.

For a second haystacking principle illustration at play in this deal. This one has to do with the institutional service providers to the deal belligerents. It’s safe to assume that the bank i.e. CBA, NAB, ANZ or WBC, which is really just one single business with 4 different fail safe divisions, will be either financing this deal somehow or providing profitable ongoing retail banking services to all 3 of Bunnings, Priceline & Woolworths. Again, if you hold shares in only one of the divisions, then you may actually care about the outcome. But if you own all, it’s a moot point and you can carry on with your day unaffected; and that’s the “why” – haystackers can take a more relaxed approach, confident that they will capture whatever value is (hopefully) created regardless of what individual participants do and regardless of the outcome.


Quickest, and importantly the cheapest and most efficient, way to achieve the haystack is to buy VAS. Perhaps a better way to achieve global haystack for an Australian tax resident is 50/50 VAS/VGS. A focused ozzy haystack might include bank, supermarket and VAS.

This deal, and the principles of haystacking discussed above, can be summarised in the below graphic:

To discuss any aspect of the above including how haystacking can be applied in a tax efficient way for your family group, call Chris at Solve on 0414 985 724 or email