Macquarie
Bank concluded a bizarre few days for the market by this morning dropping the
takeover bid it never made for Patrick Corporation.

In an announcement of
just one sentence headlined “Update on Patrick Corporation Proposal”, Macquarie
advised “that as a result of a key consortium member withdrawing its commitment
overnight to the consortium being arranged by Macquarie Bank, the Bank is no
longer proceeding with its proposed scheme of arrangement”.

Hopefully the
identity of the “key consortium member” will become known during the course of
the day, but first suspicion must fall on Chris Corrigan and Peter Scanlon. For
Corrigan in particular, the good life of spending more time in his Italian villa
must be more appealing than dealing with the hodge podge restructuring and
break-up that would have occurred under the MacBank plan.

The week of
rumours about and “maybe, if” confirmation of a higher offer for Macquarie could
prove expensive for the hedge funds that piled in. Patrick ran as high as $9.21
yesterday – it’s been as low as $8.66 this morning. MacBank at one stage was
down more than a dollar, dipping under $70 a share.

The AFR
reports ASIC is examining the trading in Patrick during this saga and
opines:

Some suggest – seeing the corporate plod is looking at trading in
Toll and Patrick for its Citigroup case – that it may as well have the entire
stock trading under lights to see just who acquired what stock when. There is no
doubt the Australian market was uninformed last week; some knew more than others
and profited from it.

And some lost. So it goes.

Now
Paul Little at Toll still has the hard job of making his expensive acquisition
of Patrick pay and the rest of the transport industry can resume serious work on
building an alliance to at first balance Toll’s power and, in time, develop into
some sort of our usual cosy duopoly with it.

Peter Fray

A lot can happen in 3 months.

3 months is a long time in 2020. Join us to make sense of it all.

Get you first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12. Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

12 weeks for $12