Now Nick Minchin really does have a problem and it
increasingly looks like Peter Costello’s Future Fund may be the only
solution, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Age. In the wake of this week’s Telstra strategic
review briefing, and the fairly savage sharemarket reaction to the
radical, expensive and, in the near term, earnings and
dividend-destructive transformation plan, the notion that T3 can occur
as planned late next year is effectively dead and buried.

Telstra’s chief executive Sol Trujillo set some high targets for
his businesses on Tuesday – none more so than for the Sensis
directory division, which he said would take on some of the largest
internet companies in the world, says Rob O’Neill in The SMH. Google is in Telstra’s sights and the Trading Post website has
been equipped with what the company calls a prototype
consumer-to-consumer transaction capability, allowing users to buy
and sell directly and moving it tentatively onto eBay’s virtual

If the Toll Holdings bid for Chris Corrigan’s Patrick fails, the
ramifications continue to mount, says Elizabeth Knight in The SMH. The relationship between the
parties has become so poisonous the status quo is no longer an
option. Life can’t go back to normal if the Toll bid does not
succeed. These two are joint venture parties in the largest rail
transport business in the country and they now can’t sit at the
same boardroom table. Yesterday it became abundantly clear relations between the
Patrick-controlled airline business Virgin Blue and its management
are also dire, says Knight.

The Fin Review reports that Virgin Blue is planning to increase
air fares to capitalise on a major product overhaul aimed at attracting
more business travellers, after reporting a 33.1% slump in full
year profit to $105 million.

And the ACCC has dealt a blow to
Lion Nathan’s hostile takeover bid for Coopers Brewery, saying it would
increase barriers to entry for new beverage players and reduce
competition in the beer market, reports The Australian.

On Wall Street, US stocks ended mixed overnight with downside
pressure provided by a spike in oil prices and an 18-year low for
General Motor shares, which fell on fresh concern over the outlook for
the troubled carmaker. The Dow Jones closed down 11.68 points at 10,674.76 – MarketWatch has a full report here.