Richard Branson’s Qantas spray … Retail sales jump … Network Ten takeover in the works?

Richard Branson

By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn. 

Virgin Airlines founder Richard Branson has danced into Melbourne airport disguised as a dragon this morning, reports the Herald Sun, stopping for long enough to take a jab at competing airline Qantas.

“We have had Qantas throw everything they can to try throw us off routes and drive us out of Australia. Virgin is here to stay and is a real formidable competitor to Qantas,” Branson told the Herald Sun.

Branson was in the city in order to announce Virgin flights to Hong Kong from Tullamarine, which until now only airlines Qantas and Cathay Pacific had offered.

“Up until now this route has been far too cost with just two airlines … so we are happy to shake things up,” he said.

Murdoch and Gordon to take over Ten?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has confirmed Channel Ten shareholders Lachlan Murdoch and Bruce Gordon have signalled their intent to launch a takeover bid for the network, which entered administration last month after the two shareholders failed to guarantee a $200 million loan to the network beyond the end of the year. reports Gordon and Murdoch are seeking a joint review of the bid from the ACCC. The news comes after the network was placed into receivership on Monday, with a $30 million funding package from its major shareholders ensuring the networks continues to operate until August.

The ACCC’s decision is due by August 24, with submissions open for interested parties until July 24.

Retail sales up for May

There’s been plenty of gloom in the local retail sector but Australian Bureau of Statistics retail sales figures for the month of May reveal sales jumped 0.6% compared to last month.

Aussie shoppers spent $2.608 billion in May, with turnover rising 3.2% compared with May 2016.

The trend estimate for household goods retailing rose 2.2% for the month, but department stores continue to face tough times, with spending estimates falling 0.7% based off the most recent numbers.

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