Patrick Corporation chief Chris Corrigan has launched another savage
attack on predator Toll Holdings, calling Toll’s management team “deal
junkies”, and cosying up to Patrick shareholders with a special
dividend, reports The Age. And the transport group will pass on the $163.5 million
it siphoned out of Virgin Blue to its own shareholders by way of a
special dividend, defying claims from hostile takeover suitor Toll
Holdings that it is short of cash, reports The Australian.

The sad part about this battle is that both target and predator
are prepared to destroy shareholder value in order to win, says Elizabeth Knight in The SMH. The people over at Patrick make the point that Toll is willing
to destroy $1 billion in shareholder value by breaking up the
Pacific National rail joint venture, but this is also what Patrick was playing at when it claimed
there was a material dispute between the two joint venture
partners. So it was prepared to destroy the same $1 billion in value.

Telstra’s unions are unhappy that Sol Trujillo’s $10 billion
renovation plan involves job cuts that could show 25% of
its workforce out the door by 2010, but it would be a mistake to
caricature them as implacable enemies of Trujillo and the changes
he is making, says Malcolm Maiden in The Age. Black hat villains and white hat heroes don’t exist in the real
world, and Telstra’s chief executive is doing many things that the
unions support.

The Fin Review reports that John Howard has backed an eventual
merger between Qantas and Singapore Airlines to form a powerful
Asia-Pacific carrier capable of meeting the challenges in the intensely
competitive global aviation industry.

Macquarie Bank’s newest satellite fund, Macquarie Media Group,
attracted less than stellar interest on its market debut,
continuing the lacklustre performance of Wednesday’s initial public
offering, reports The Age. The float has provided
an insight into the confused relationship developing between Macquarie
Bank and local institutions, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Age.
The timing of the float and the fact that it coincided with widespread
and sceptical
discussion about the resilience of the “Macquarie Model” in less
environments, may have had something to do with the criticism of MMG.
But the more interesting explanation, however, is that the local fund
managers put the boots into MMG because they could.

On Wall Street, US stocks ended higher overnight, with the Nasdaq at
its best level since June 2001 (up 32.53 points at 2,220), in a market
by a drop in crude-oil prices and declining long-term interest rates.
The Dow Jones closed up 45.46 points at 10,720 – MarketWatch has a full
report here.