Michael Pascoe writes:

Macquarie Bank overnight effectively
dropped
its unwanted takeover bid for the London Stock Exchange,
announcing it won’t extend or increase its offer of 580 pence a share. With LSE shares trading at 834.5 pence last
night, you could say MacBank was a little out of the money.

And back in Sydney, it looks
like Murdoch Inc is lining up against the Millionaire Factory in the promised
taxi war. The Daily Telegraph follows yesterday’s SMH story by running taxi
tsar and Cabcharge king Reg Kermode warning MacBank against taking him on.
(Curiously, the story doesn’t seem to be on the Terror‘s site, but The
Courier-Mail
has it.)

“I welcome
competition. But don’t let them get 300 licences for the price of one,”
says 79-year-old Kermode.

Personally,
I’ve never met a businessman who has welcomed competition, but we’ll let that
ride. The price refers to licences to operate disabled
taxis costing only $1000 each, while normal plates trade on the rorted market
for up to $300,000. The Terror‘s Peter
Gosnell reports:

Macquarie
Bank in partnership with transport giant Lindsay Fox, has proposed establishing
a fleet of disabled-access Mercedes painted lime green.

Mr
Kermode however believes the investment bank, which has been waiting five
months for its application to be dealt with, is simply looking to get a toehold
in the industry, which turns over nearly $9 billion a year.

“I
object to anyone coming into this industry after people have put a life into
it,” he said.

We should be
grateful for the Terror reminding us that this battle pits two Labor
ex-Premiers against each other. Neville Wran is on the Cabcharge board while
MacBank of course has Bob Carr Crash – when he isn’t interviewing Gore Vidal
for the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent.

I mentioned
yesterday that the taxi industry keeps politicians very close. Looks like
Cabcharge has the better fighter.

Meanwhile, Australian Investment Review offers some interesting broker comments on what the battle might mean to
Cabcharge as well as reminding us of a story in The Sheet that the NSW Taxi
Drivers Association next month has a case before the Australian Competition
Tribunal challenging the exemption from the Trade Practices Act granted to
Cabcharge by the ACCC.

There is indeed a major battle brewing –
and everyone knows how Macquarie likes to buy a monopoly.

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW