Zee plot thickens.
Qantas bid hangs in balance
May 5, 2007 - 8:36AM
The $11.1 billion takeover bid for Australian carrier Qantas hung in the balance today, and may still continue after all.
The Airline Partners Australia (APA) consortium last night all but conceded defeat in the bid, announcing it appeared to have failed to reach the 50 per cent level required to extend the offer.
But APA said early today that a late acceptance from a large investor meant it intended to press ahead with the bid.
"On Friday evening, APA announced that, subject to confirmation, it appeared that the offer had failed to reach the 50 per cent level required for the offer to proceed," it said in a statement.
"However, subsequently on Friday, APA received an acceptance from a large investor, which would be sufficient to take acceptances for Qantas shares to more than 50 per cent.
"APA intends to make submissions to the Takeovers Panel to allow the offer to continue."
APA said the late support took acceptances to a majority of 50.6 per cent of Qantas shares, accepted on behalf of 58 per cent of all Qantas shareholders.
APA had been hoping to gather more acceptances to reach 50 per cent so that the $5.45 per share offer would be automatically extended by two weeks.
That would have given it breathing space to secure the 70 per cent it needed for the offer to fully succeed.
The group, led by Australia's largest investment bank Macquarie Bank, said last night its plans for Qantas would have significantly enhanced the airline, guaranteed strong growth and been beneficial for employees and customers.
As well as Macquarie Bank, the APA consortium included US private equity firm Texas Pacific Group, Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp and Australian investment groups Allco Equity Partners and Allco Finance Group.
Qantas shares closed last night up one cent at $5.38.
The board of Australia's largest airline rejected an initial takeover offer from APA in mid-December before accepting a sweetened bid shortly afterwards.
The consortium restructured its offer last month in a bid to boost its chance of success, lowering the minimum shareholder acceptance condition to 70 per cent, from 90 per cent.