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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 04:30 GMT 05:30 UK
Consortium admits Qantas bid over
Qantas jets
The takeover bid was opposed by many in Australia
The private equity group trying to take over Australian airline Qantas has admitted that its bid has failed.

Airline Partners Australia (APA) said that while it had valid claims to revive the deal, it would avoid a long litigation process and pull out now.

APA had bid A$11bn ($9bn) for the airline, but missed a deadline for gaining sufficient shareholder support.

Qantas shares plummeted almost 4% when trading opened on Tuesday, in response to the weekend's events.

Despite the failed bid, APA has still left itself open to considering a fresh offer for Qantas.

But in a statement, Qantas chairman Margaret Jackson said any future APA bid would be treated as a completely new matter.

Refusal

The original deal collapsed because APA failed to meet a Friday deadline on winning at least 50% of shareholder acceptances - a condition that had to be met for the bid to go ahead.

APA, a consortium which includes Australian bank Macquarie and US private equity group Texas Pacific, quickly conceded its buyout bid had failed.

But then a late decision by a key US investor, to back the deal, left the consortium with 50.6% of Qantas shareholder support.

Despite the fact it had missed the deadline, APA sought permission on Saturday to proceed with the next stage of the bid.

However Australia's takeovers panel refused the request to count the late acceptances, saying it had "decided not to commence proceedings in relation to APA's application".

Still APA refused to admit defeat, saying on Monday that it was "exploring a number of alternatives, including the possibility of making a renewed offer".

By Tuesday, though, it had realised that the bid was over.

"APA has decided not to pursue arguments that it did achieve voting power in excess of 50% by the offer deadline," the group said in a statement.

"APA believes that Qantas shareholders need more certainty and accordingly, it has determined that its bid should be treated as having lapsed on 4 May 2007."

The "on again, off again" deal has been ridiculed in the Australian media.

"It's the Qantas flying circus," the Sydney Morning Herald said on its front page, adding, "That bid's not dead, it's pining," in reference to the British comedy outfit's famous Dead Parrot sketch.




SEE ALSO
Last-ditch Qantas offer blocked
06 May 07 |  Business
APA Qantas bid wins late reprieve
05 May 07 |  Business
APA admits likely Qantas defeat
04 May 07 |  Business
Deadline looms for Qantas offer
03 May 07 |  Business
Qantas suitor steps up bid battle
24 Apr 07 |  Business
Qantas bid hit by investor block
23 Mar 07 |  Business

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