Monday, 7 May 2007

Qantas and MacBank debacle - a sign of the times

The schemozzle which has been the Airline Partners Australia attempted takeover of Qantas is very instructive. APA's bid was apparently worth Aus $11.1 billion.
The SMH reports:

"Macquarie Bank's crack team, .... assumed complete control of bringing in the 50 per cent of Qantas shares needed to keep alive Airline Partners Australia's $11.1 billion bid for the airline."

That bid to for a buy-out failed spectacularly, over the weekend. The report goes on:

"The failure will also have a heavy impact on the Qantas board, particularly the chairwoman, Margaret Jackson, whose position is now untenable. Many believe she has no option but to resign immediately. It was she who pushed the bid through and then, in an almost hysterical outburst in March, exhorted investors to accept it.

Since then it has been revealed the consortium planned to strip $4.5 billion from the company's coffers in the first year."

Then they report that:
"However, US investors indicated to the Herald over the weekend that they would like to see Qantas's chief executive, Geoff Dixon, and his management team stay on, afraid their departure would create a vacuum."

Finally, it states:

"The first to voice opposition, Andrew Sisson, of Balanced Equity Management, galvanised other investors, who had quietly opposed the bid. But even he has urged that Mr Dixon and his team remain. "There is no reason why the executives can't continue to be leading the company if the takeover doesn't proceed," he said in March.

"Mr Dixon said yesterday he would continue in his job "at the behest of the board". He stood to earn as much as $60 million in performance fees had the deal gone ahead."

What has become of Australia?
We are being played for fools and idiots. This started under Hawke and Keating, and has been followed by the Howard and Costello team. Those Governments first led the charge to asset-strip the country by selling off our precious commonly held assets - Telstra, Commonwealth Bank, Qantas, and many more.

Should we be surprised if the unprincipled "smart boys" from the top end of town follow suit, and asset strip these assets once again?

Macquarie Bank's directors and executives ought hang their heads in shame. They would, if they had any principles, but they don't, so they won't!
It is entirely likely that the MacBank people will be working the phones from this morning, preparing a new bid to buy out Qantas. One wonders:- how much they are being encouraged by the Chairman and the Chief Executive?

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