Qantas is waving the Australian flag … goodbye

There is more behind the Qantas lockout than short-term industrial disputes. AAP

As the initial shock of the Qantas lockout of its workforce abates, it is time to consider the wider implications of this action.

One lesson is the folly of national identification of companies that are increasingly chasing each other across the globe in search of ever-higher profits. In order develop this insight it might be useful to take a step or two back in time to see how corporate Australia has been evolving.

The first part of the story takes us back to December 2006, when a private equity firm called Airline Partners of Australia launched an $11 billion ($5.60 a share) takeover bid for Qantas.

Airline Partners of Australia was a consortium of companies that included Macquarie Group, the now-failed Allco Finance and the Texas Pacific Group. The bid, which was almost $1.50 above the prevailing share price (and $4.00 a share premium on the current share price) was supported by the then board of Qantas.

But when the bid closed in May 2007, after widespread public opposition, it failed to gain majority shareholder support and was withdrawn. One of the key lines of opposition was that a private equity buyout might mean Qantas would no longer call Australia home.

Alan Joyce is looking to expand offshore operations. AAP