Wotif shareholders approve Expedia deal; Competition watchdog voices concerns over Harper Review: Midday roundup

Broede Carmody /

Wotif shareholders have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a $703 million takeover by American-based travel website Expedia.

Almost 95% of Wotif Group shareholders were present in person or by proxy for the decision, with 99.93% of votes cast in favour of the takeover.

Wotif will now seek approval for the transaction from the Supreme Court of Queensland at a hearing scheduled for October 14. If the court allows the deal to go ahead, Expedia will take control of the company on October 15.

Wotif has confirmed a special dividend of $0.24 per Wotif Group share, conditional on the takeover coming into effect.

Competition watchdog voices concerns over Harper Review

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has raised concerns over the federal government’s review of competition policy, after the Harper review’s draft report proposed turning the ACCC into two separate bodies.

One idea in the review’s report is to replace the current commission with a board comprising of executive members and non-executive members with business, consumer and academic expertise.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement the recommendations raise questions around the benefits of having narrowly focused decision makers as well as the loss of effectiveness if the commission were to be split in two.

“We will be discussing further with the panel exactly what problems they are seeking to solve with this split,” he said.

“To participate in the ACCC’s decision making processes, non-executives would need to be involved on a weekly basis and quite heavily; is this intended?” asked Sims.

“If not, which decisions will they be involved in and which not, and why?”

The ACCC has also said the recommendations raise questions about how conflicts of interest would be managed.

Shared down on open

Aussie shares have opened lower this morning, following another fall on Wall Street overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 Benchmark was down 90.8 points to 5205.9 at 11.57am. On Thursday, the Dow Jones closed down1.97%, falling 334.97 points to 16,659.25.

Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.