News: Its over

Old Feb 26, 02, 3:04 pm
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News: Its over

Ansett deal off: reports
February 27 2002

The Tesna syndicate's deal to buy Ansett has collapsed ABC radio reports.

Solomon Lew and Lindsay Fox reportedly walked away from talks with administrators last night.

According to a report in the Herald Sun, final talks between the two parties failed to seal the $453 million sale of the airline to the Fox-Lew syndicate.

It came just hours after administrators secured the vital lease of the Sydney Airport terminal.

The newspaper said Mr Fox and Mr Lew were believed to have decided their business plan for a revived Ansett would not work.

A source confirmed administrators were in talks with the Fox-Lew syndicate until the early hours of today.

But he said they believed they had met all the requirements for the sale to go through by tomorrow's deadline.

The Sydney Airport lease was regarded as a major stumbling block to the sale of Ansett to Tesna.

The newspaper said the chances of the talks resuming between the two parties were now slim.

A 3AW reporter at Melbourne airport said Ansett flights were still leaving and arriving, and there had been no changes to the schedule.

Ansett staff were still issuing boarding passes.

Melbourne Airports corporate affairs manager Geoffrey Conaghan said they were still at the table and were still expecting the sale documents to be signed.

"But I also understand that we're only one of the players. There are a whole bunch of other parties that have documents and leases to be set up," he told ABC radio in Melbourne.


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Old Feb 26, 02, 3:24 pm
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These people never looked like they would complete that deal!!
They just wanted their 10 minutes of fame!
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Old Feb 26, 02, 5:00 pm
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wouldn't over 10 Million Australian $ of costs (costs accumulated by the Syndicats lawyers etc) be a little too much costs for just 10' of fame (I read that figure in more than one serious Australian paper on january-30 after the creditors reunion in Melbourne)
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Old Feb 26, 02, 7:07 pm
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If I was the administrators I would be VERY VERY worried. They now may be liable for the losses of Ansett and the costs of the fallen down deal.

Also I now have to questions if Fox / Lew ever intended to go ahead and run an airline or if they just intended to play real estate agents. Sydney Airport did not give them total control over the airport and the sticking points was that Fox / Lew needed to continue to run an airline (this is what Fox / Lew were complaining about).
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Old Feb 26, 02, 7:37 pm
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Agreed. Lew-Fox's intentions are questionable. Even if they signed a deal, I have doubts that they'll really do the right thing for AN as an airline.

Well, maybe this is the best and see who else will come forward to carry the AN flag.

And where's SQ? Surely there's something for them.
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Old Feb 26, 02, 7:43 pm
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SQ are too smart, and were when they had a look back in October, to get involved in this crap.

I think we'll see Lang buy/lease the terminals, and Virgin move into them (which would be a vast improvement for DJ for sure, and for the flying customers.. specially at CBR for one ! ).

I can't see anyone else going near it.

In essence we'll have a larger DJ from AN terminals taking on QF.

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Old Feb 26, 02, 7:57 pm
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All offers considered

February 27 2002

Ansett administrators will now approach unsuccessful bidders for the collapsed airline after Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew this morning pulled out of the deal to buy the company.

The Tesna syndicate pulled out of negotiations with the administrators to buy Ansett, 48 hours before tomorrow's midnight deadline, effectively sounding the death knell for any long-term revival of the airline.

Administrators Mark Korda and Mark Mentha, of Andersen, said today Mr Fox and Mr Lew had served a termination notice last night.

Mr Korda said Tesna had advised they could not meet tomorrow's deadline for the sale because of third-party issues.

"We are assessing the situation and, as foreshadowed at the creditors' meeting, will return to the unsuccessful bidders to pursue an alternative course," Mr Korda said in a statement.

He defended the administrators' decision to go with Tesna only, and reject other options, including a bid by transport company Patrick.

"The Tesna option was the only option at the time to keep the Ansett business in existence," he said.

"It was in the best interests of all creditors and the only option that would have provided benefits for all unsecured creditors and jobs for employees."

Mr Korda said in the event of a no-sale of Ansett, air services would be wound down in an orderly fashion.

He confirmed Ansett's inter-capital flights would continue until Monday night and refunds would be arranged for all passengers with bookings after Monday night.

Help will be provided for alternative flight arrangements with Qantas and Virgin Blue.

Mr Korda said they were surprised Tesna had pulled out.

"This was unexpected because Tesna had employed 20 new senior executives and offered jobs to about 3,000 employees," he said in the statement.

"It had announced a Global Rewards scheme and a Golden Wing plan. It had committed to new aircraft.

"Also the Sydney Airports Corporation Limited had advised that they had agreed to assign the Sydney terminal to Tesna.

"The administrators were ready, willing and able to complete the transaction."

Mr Korda said they had told creditors at the second meeting last month that there were risks involved in extending the deadline for one month, but had been confident the deal would go ahead.

"We had assurances from Tesna that they would meet the extended deadline and these assurances were repeated frequently,'' he said.

"We apologise to passengers and will inform the public of developments as they unfold."

Patrick Corp today said the offer it put on the table last year with the administrators of Ansett still stood.

Last November, Patrick Corp said it was working on a proposal to acquire some Ansett assets in a deal with Virgin Blue.

Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL) today said the difficulty in securing the Sydney Airport lease agreement could not be blamed for the collapse of the sale of Ansett to Tesna.

SACL announced late yesterday it had formally offered Tesna a lease under the arrangements agreed to in principle on February 14.

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Old Feb 26, 02, 8:09 pm
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PM demands answers over deal failure

February 27 2002

Prime Minister John Howard today demanded a full explanation of why the Tesna syndicate withdrew its bid to buy Ansett.

Mr Howard said he was disappointed and felt sorry for Ansett employees who had hoped to get back their jobs with the collapsed airline.

The prime minister called for Ansett administrators and the Tesna syndicate to fully explain why the sale deal collapsed.

"My first thoughts are with the workers," Mr Howard told reporters in Adelaide.

"I feel very sorry for them, and it's particularly heartbreaking that it has happened right on the eve of this thing getting off the ground.

"I feel for the workers more than anything else and I'm very disappointed it has happened right at the end, out of the blue.

"People should explain and I think the workers are entitled to know, to have a full explanation as to why this decision has been taken.

"If it is a commercial one - which I gather it is - then fair enough, they should explain why.

"Seeing as all along people spoke positively and optimistically, it is very disappointing to the workers.

"The administrators should say something. Mr (Lindsay) Fox and Mr (Solomon) Lew should have something to say ... I'm not being critical, I'm just making the observation that the employees are entitled to know."

Mr Howard said the government was not to blame for the deal's collapse.

"I really do say to the Ansett employees, who were hoping to get, some of them, their jobs back, that the government's guarantee in relation to their entitlements which I gave on the 14th of September last year, that guarantee holds good," he said.

"It's not the government's fault that the Tesna thing has fallen over.

"I think everybody knows this was run very much by the administrators and the ACTU and Mr Fox and Mr Lew - on occasions the government was a bit left out of the loop but so be it.

"I'm sorry that this has occurred.

"I hope that the administrator immediately looks at the alternative bid, I hope the administrator doesn't look at liquidation."

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Old Feb 26, 02, 8:32 pm
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Administrators desperate after Tesna deal fails
Ansett's administrators will speak to other parties about the possibility of buying the airline or its assets following the Tesna consortium's decision to pull out of the deal.

The exit of the Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew-backed Tesna consortium, leaves Ansett's administrators back at square one.

The administrators say they will let the dust settle over the next few days, then revisit the question of Ansett's future.

They have confirmed they will speak to Virgin Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Lang Corporation and any other interested parties, to determine if Ansett or its assets could still be sold.

But they concede the airline will not be back in the air on the same scale as Tesna had planned.


The federal Shadow Transport Minister Martin Ferguson has urged the Government to give Ansett workers their full entitlements.

He has also raised concerns about the consequences for the airline, now the Fox/Lew bid has failed.

"If Ansett is out of it, we've got Qantas out there with Virgin, the issue is now for the administrators to explore whether Virgin can pick up some of the Ansett operation, or alternatively we shouldn't forget that Corrigan of Patricks was in there a few weeks ago...who knows what their true interests are," he said.


Questions are being raised as to who is to blame.

Unions are refusing to accept the deal between the Tesna consortium and Ansett administrators was too difficult to close.

The ACTU's Greg Combet insists most major sticking points had been resolved.

"It's a tragedy for the staff that the sale hasn't been able to be completed," he said.

The Sydney Airport Corporation's Peter Gibbs says the corporation is not one of the third parties Tesna has blamed for holding up the deal, saying it finalised its lease arrangements in time.

"Any criticism that anybody would like to throw at the corporation, I really think is quite unfair," he said.

Meanwhile, chief executive of rival Qantas, Geoff Dixon, insists there is no joy in Ansett's collapse.

"There was a lot of good will and people trying to get it up, this is really about jobs now, it's not about competitive airlines," he said.


The Victorian Premier, Steve Bracks says Tesna's decision to pull out of negotiations is a huge disappointment.

Mr Bracks maintains his Government only ever offered the Fox Lew consortium payroll tax rebates to base Ansett in Victoria.

He says he spoke this morning to Mr Lew, who told him the deal could have succeeded with more time.

The Premier has again criticised the Federal Government, accusing it of failing to support the Fox/Lew bid.

"Whilst we had our shoulder to the wheel, while we wanted this outcome, while regrettably this hasn't occurred, the Federal Government was directly doing the opposite, behind the scenes," he said.

"I think there's enough evidence to show that they did not want the Fox/Lew syndicate to get up, they did not want Ansett Mark II to get up."

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Old Feb 26, 02, 11:18 pm
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Ansett administrators to contact other potential buyers
Ansett's administrators will contact other potential buyers following the collapse of a deal to sell the airline to the Solomon Lew-Lindsay Fox Tesna consortium.

Tesna has cited outstanding domestic terminal lease issues as the main reason for its decision to back out.

The move leaves Ansett's administrators again searching for a buyer for the airline or its assets and they plan to talk to Virgin Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Patrick Corporation.

Ansett will be grounded after Monday with refunds to be issued to passengers still holding tickets for travel.

Despite the loss of the preferred buyer, administrator Mark Korda denied a move to liquidation was inevitable.

"What we're going to do is see what we can put together, but what we've said is we've drawn a line in the sand," he said.

"We'll not be able to fly the planes after Monday, but then we'll look at all the assets and where we are over the next few days in the calm."

Chief executive of the Tourism Task Force, Christopher Brown, says today's developments well and truly spells the end of the $33 airfare.

"We learnt the hard way last year that viable airline businesses are more important than $33 airfares," he said.

"We need planes in the sky, we need the people running those planes to make a profit to keep the planes in the sky."

Ansett subsidiaries

The administrator of Ansett subsidiary, Hazelton Airlines, says the company will not be affected by Tesna's decision to walk away from talks with Ansett administrators.

Michael Humphris says Hazelton has been operating under a separate administration since Ansett's collapse in September last year.

He says there are currently four bidders interested in purchasing the regional airline and he is confident they will not change their minds.

"I'm continuing to run negotiations with interested parties who may be able to acquire the business hopefully in the near future, but as such, it's business as usual," he said.

Another Ansett subsidiary Kendell Airlines says it will continue to operate independently despite Tesna's decision to pull out of negotiations to buy the airline.

Kendell general manager Rob O'Brien says all tickets will be honoured and customers should proceed with their travel plans as normal.

He says Kendell remains a viable entity for a prospective buyer.

"Certainly Kendell is still the largest regional operator in Australia and our specialty has always been regional ports," he said.

"That is what we'll continue to focus on, I'd like to think that it would be attractive for another airline to be able to get our feed of traffic."


The Transport Workers Union (TWU) New South Wales secretary, Tony Sheldon, says the Federal Government has to accept a large share of the blame for the initial collapse of Ansett and the failure of the Tesna deal.

Mr Sheldon says the Government could have done more to help along the negotiations with third parties and provide financial assistance.

"We've seen around the country and around the world substantial sums put in to save airlines because of the knock on the effect on the economy and jobs," he said.

"In this country we haven't seen one cent put in by the Federal Government, they have clearly put themselves up the top of the priority list to protect themselves.

"The could have followed New Zealand by putting hundreds of millions of dollars to protect what they view is a vital industry along with other countries."

The TWU says it will use industrial action to force any operator taking over Ansett's Sydney Airport terminal lease to employ redundant Ansett workers.

Mr Sheldon says a mass meeting of Ansett workers at Sydney Airport on Friday will discuss what action would be taken in the event another operator takes over the lease.

"We believe the Sydney Airports Corporation have an obligation that we will enforce organisationally, industrially, to meet an obligation that anyone picking up the contract for this airport should be obliged to give preference and positive preference to any Ansett worker," he said.

"We are going to push and we are going to make sure that SACL (Sydney Airports Corporation) meets that commitment."

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Old Feb 26, 02, 11:20 pm
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Fox and Lew regret failure of Tesna's Ansett bid
MELBOURNE, Feb 27 AAP|Published: Wednesday February 27, 4:52 PM

Businessmen Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew today spoke of their deep regret at the failure of their bid to revive Ansett.

At a media conference in Melbourne they blamed the collapse of the deal, one day before its deadline, on third party issues.

The two men firmly denied speculation that their Tesna consortium did not have the finance to complete the deal.

Mr Lew told reporters a letter of termination was delivered to administrators Andersen at 6pm yesterday.

A late night meeting was called at Mr Lew's office at 8pm where an extension was offered but not taken by Tesna.

Mr Fox said he felt terrible that the deal had fallen through.

"I don't think I've felt as bad about any commercial transaction in my life," he said.

Mr Fox said the consortium now had no plans to purchase any of Ansett's assets.

"We're not in there to try to cherry-pick after walking away," he said.

Mr Lew said there were forces working against the Tesna proposal but it was too early to point the blame.

He said a lot of spin doctoring and leaking of information had damaged the bid.

He said administrators owed the owners of the airports tens of millions of dollars in back rent and there had been discrepancies about how and when it would be paid.

In the end, they only had one airport and six aircraft leases signed, Mr Lew said, and their lawyers would not let them complete the deal while there was nothing to purchase.

Mr Lew said some of the actions of the landlords of airports had hindered the negotiations.

He also stressed that Tesna was fully financed and ready to complete the bid and that key US investors were fully behind them until the very end.

Mr Fox said he would love to see someone come in and revive Ansett but Tesna had not been able to do it under the conditions.

By Jane Williams
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Old Feb 26, 02, 11:39 pm
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Hmm. Qantas shares surged 10% on the market today.

Many of the news quotes above are interesting. Could I ask for attribution be given though to the source for future pastes? That is of interest to me, and as I recall also part of the FT TOS due to copyright etc.
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Old Feb 26, 02, 11:51 pm
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ok will do in future (me bad boy). most items from The Age ( or ABC News Online (

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Old Feb 27, 02, 7:50 am
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Ansett Seeks New Rescue Deal

A desperate search is under way to find a new buyer for Australian airline Ansett after negotiations to sell it to the Tesna consortium collapsed at the eleventh hour.

If the government fails to find another buyer Ansett will be forced to ground its flights after next Monday, threatening the jobs of 3000 workers.

Tesna, led by two millionaire Australian businessmen Lindsay Fox and Solomon Lew, was due to finalize a AUD$3 billion (USD$1.5 billion) deal on Thursday.
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Old Feb 27, 02, 5:28 pm
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Employee buyout option?
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