AXA Asia Pacific
Holdings’s six-year transformation yesterday culminated in the $575 million
purchase of MLC Hong Kong and MLC Indonesia from the “nab,” the group’s biggest
acquisition since it listed in October 1996, reportsThe Australian.

On Alinta’s play for AGL,
it’s a very high-risk strategy, says the paper’s Bryan
And by looking to outlay up to $1.8 billion in cash before talking to AGL
about its $12-billion merger-then-demerger proposal, Alinta has significantly
increased that risk. Effectively, Alinta boss Bob Browning has bet the best part
of $1.2 billion that he has made AGL an
offer too good to refuse, at least in the circumstances in which he has placed
his much bigger energy rival, says Stephen Bartholomeusz in The Smage.

But to say Alinta’s proposition requires a leap of faith is
an understatement, says John Durie in the Financial
(not online).

Coles Myer’s second-quarter sales are so bad they raise an
obvious question, says Malcolm Maiden in The Smage: how is chief executive
John Fletcher able to say, as he did yesterday, that the retailer is still on
track to hit a full-year profit of $800 million?

To put this in context, Coles supermarket sales in real
terms went backwards, says Durie, but one quarter doesn’t tell the story. It’s
the trend that makes you wonder whether the supermarket’s management is up to
the job.

Meanwhile, the men behind Westpoint, which collapsed owing
4,000 small investors more than $300 million, are all back in business as if
nothing happened, raising money from the public again, says Alan Kohler, also
in The Smage.

On Wall Street, US
closed lower Tuesday as a sharp rise in oil prices and a disappointing
profit forecast from Wal-Mart put investors in a bearish mood. The Dow Jones
fell 46.26 points to 11,069.06.