The Myer family consortium has won the battle for the
106-year-old Myer department stores after tabling a bid believed to be worth
over $900 million, reportsThe Sydney Morning
Herald
.

If, as rumoured, John Fletcher has managed to sell the
troublesome Myer department store chain for around $900 million, plenty of shareholders
will be celebrating, says Elizabeth Knight in the SMH. It would give Coles Myer plenty of play money and enough
change to reward shareholders with a capital return.

Meanwhile, a cloud hangs over the future of hundreds of
Qantas employees at Melbourne’s Tullamarine
Airport after the airline yesterday
launched a six-month review into its local maintenance operation, reportsThe
Age
. Qantas has also confirmed it will axe 480 jobs from its 747 heavy
maintenance plant in Sydney.

And with Qantas directing the heavy maintenance for the
Boeing 747s to Avalon and the Boeing 767s to Brisbane, this means transport magnate Lindsay Fox and his airport near Geelong
continue to be among the big winners in the new Australian aviation landscape, says
Simon Evans in the Financial Review‘s
Chanticleer (not online).

Pay-TV operators have sharpened their campaign for looser
regulation in the federal government’s revamped media laws, reportsThe Australian. Among them, Foxtel chief Kim Williams has made a last-minute
attempt to lay out the ground rules for sensible and fair change, says Stephen
Bartholomeusz
in The Smage. As well as highlighting the challenge for industry incumbents as a torrent of new technology threatens the sector.

Thanks to the Australian Stock Exchange, confusion reigned
yesterday over Queensland Gas Co (QGC) and its takeover target, Sydney Gas
(SGL), says Bryan Frith in The Oz.

And new evidence by three senior BHP
executives to the Cole Royal Commission paints Norman Davidson Kelly as the
master of the puzzle which is BHP’s $US5
million wheat shipment to Iraq,
says Matthew Stevens, also in The Oz.

In other news, Dubai Ports World is said to be backing out
of acquiring North American operations,
stating political pressure from the United Arab
Emirates government… And the Australian government takes on China’s
Commerce Ministry
over its imposition of a price cap on iron ore imports
– good luck with that.

On Wall Street, US
stocks ended lower
Thursday as concern over the impact of higher interest rates
continued to dog the market. The Dow Jones ended down 33.46 points at
10,972.28.

Peter Fray

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