Qantas Airways has accepted an increased takeover bid for the airline that values it at A$11.1 billion (US$8.71 billion).
The deal comes from a consortium called the Airline Partners Australia it is being led by Macquarie Bank and US private equity firm Texas Pacific Group, Qantas shareholders will get A$5.60 per share, up from an initial bid of A$5.50.
The new owners of Qantas have pledged not to break up the carrier as it delists from the Australian stock exchange after 11 years as a public company.
Media reports suggest that some people are uneasy about the buyout, fearing job losses, a cut in regional services, price hikes or a move of maintenance operations offshore.
The airline’s chief executive Geoff Dixon told the Australian Associated Press it would be “business as usual”
“I can’t see why Qantas going from being publicly owned to being privately owned will have any impact on fares.
“Fares are - in this industry as in any others - a reflection of competition, and I think we have more than 40 airlines coming into this country on any given day, so I think there’s plenty of competition.”
Although Dixon refused to bow to a union call for the new owners to guarantee existing jobs and entitlements of Qantas workers.
Australian Prime Minister, John Howard told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio: “I hope that the Qantas we know is the Qantas we keep. People like Qantas. It is an icon. That doesn’t mean to say its shares can’t change hands.”
Qantas won “Australasia’s Leading Airline” at this year’s World Travel Awards.