APA Says It Has Shares Needed For Majority Control
Airline takeovers are seldom pretty... but when local media
label the entire endeavour a "farce," that's rarely a good sign.
Such was the case Monday, as The Australian newspaper reported on
Airline Partners Australia's latest attempt to purchase national
flag carrier Qantas.
The paper reports APA claims an obscure clause in its buyout
proposal has given the buyout group majority control of the
airline... even as the that proposal was shot down by the Takeovers
Panel last week. APA says the clause forces shareholders who
accepted its original proposal, to give the banking consortium all
their shares in the airline.
The move follows a seesaw weekend news cycle, in which the bid
was reported as dead -- then revived, as APA claimed shares
acquired five hours after the formal deadline Friday should still
count towards its offer -- then killed again, this time by the
Qantas board of directors.
The group, led by Australia's Macquarie Bank, was due to meet
with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Monday,
before announcing whether the group would bring the majority
control issue before the court.
APA's stock claim led to a halt on trading of all Qantas shares,
until the mess couild be sorted out. Unions at the airline
threatened a protest of their own before the Takeover Panel, asking
for a declaration of unacceptable conduct should APA force the
Qantas board chairman Margaret Jackson, who endorsed
APA's original failed bid, said the airline's board "regrets the
current uncertainty, which is not of its making, and is determined
to see the issues clarified as soon as possible."
As Aero-News reported, Qantas
shareholders accepted APA's $11.1 billion (Australian) buyout bid
Treasurer Peter Costello said APA should accept the original
decision -- that the bid is dead, after a US hedge fund refused to
sell its stake in Qantas, a move that would have given APA over 50
percent control of the carrier without resorting to legal
"The shareholders, or a majority of the shareholders, did not
accept the offer, and I think the board now has to make a statement
as to where they stand and what they intend to do in relation to
the company," he said.
Place yer bets...