The Takeovers Panel has made a final decision in
relation to the application from the Australian and International
Pilots Association (AIPA), concerning an off-market, cash takeover bid for Qantas Airways Limited by Airline Partners Australia Limited (APA).
The Panel considered that there were a number of statements in, and
omissions from, the APA bidder’s statement dated 2 February 2007 (APA Bidder’s Statement)
which were sufficiently misleading to give rise to unacceptable
circumstances. On the basis of an undertaking by APA to dispatch a
supplementary bidder’s statement to Qantas shareholders which addresses the Panel’s concerns, the Panel determined not to make a declaration of unacceptable circumstances.
The issue of whether or not AIPA was a person whose interests were
affected by the circumstances of the APA Bidder’s Statement, and
therefore had standing to make the application, was briefly raised in
the proceedings. The Panel adopted a preliminary decision that AIPA
could be a person affected by the relevant circumstances and advised
the parties that it proposed to proceed on that basis. However, the
issue was not argued fully before the Panel. Therefore, the decision is
unlikely to stand as any material precedent on this issue in future
applications before the Panel.