IT WAS a case of the bearded English entrepreneur who got away.
Unveiling Qantas’ new advertising campaign on Friday, its executive manager of marketing, Lewis Pullen, said he had spotted Sir Richard Branson board one of the Flying Roo’s aircraft in Auckland during the Rugby World Cup last year.
”I saw Branson get on a Qantas plane coming back from the World Cup and I tried to take his photo,” he said. ”I wish I’d got that photo.”
He recalled the event after he was asked whether he would be willing to put the name of Virgin Australia’s largest shareholder on one of its planes as part of its new advertising campaign.
”That would be great. It would be a wonderful story,” he said.
The new Qantas campaign, which relies heavily on social media, involves adding an ”ns” to its ”Spirit of Australia” tag line on an A380 and a Boeing 737 aircraft (so it now reads ”Spirit of Australians”).
Over the next two weeks Qantas will be giving hundreds of Australians the chance to get their name emblazoned on the side of one of the planes.
Pullen was also keen to dispel the ”elephant in the room” on Friday that Qantas would ditch its ”I still call Australia home” tag line. He made clear that Qantas would be saving the ”quasi-national anthem” for special events such as the Olympics rather than trotting it out on more regular occasions.
Virgin, meanwhile, put its own spin on the Sir Richard sighting. A spokeswoman confirmed the Virgin founder had flown on Qantas in the past because he ”often wants to check out the competitors”.
”He loves it because he likes to see the difference between them and us,” she said.
Needs to improve
THE Tax Office must have a wonky calculator.
Let’s just hope the ATO is more accurate in its assessment of the appropriate level of franking in dividends than it is in some of the examples provided in a long-awaited ruling last week.
In a ruling sure to please most company bean counters in their busiest period of the year and retirees increasingly dependent on dividend income, the ATO last Thursday announced significant changes to the tax treatment of dividends. The ruling, which could affect whether dividends can be paid and/or franked by companies with accumulated losses, offered several examples on how the new rules would be applied.
In one example in the ruling of a hypothetical company called Upwey Ltd the ATO showed its arithmetic prowess by calculating that $190 of share capital, added to minus $40 of accumulated losses plus $30 of ”permanent and unrealised capital profit reserve” equalled $280 of total equity.
Then there was the example of Pilbara Ltd. The ATO calculated the company’s $100 of assets and $30 of plant and equipment added up to $100. Some companies caught out with typographical errors in their accounts might be asking the taxman to be a little more forgiving this tax season.
A kind word
ONE newspaper proprietor seems to be taking the troubles at Fairfax Media, owner of The Age, particularly hard.
”I hope they find their way through,” said News Corporation head honcho Rupert Murdoch at the media conference on Friday where his company announced the planned separation of its entertainment and publishing businesses.
”I am aware of the situation at Fairfax and I do not want our papers to become monopolies,” explained Murdoch about the tricky position his papers, such as the NT News and The Australian, could be put in if they had no rivals competing for advertising dollars and readers. “That would make us a great political target,” he said.
Murdoch’s new-found sense of empathy for Fairfax was on show early last week when he tweeted: “Understand lefties worried about Gina [Rinehart].”
The last highly publicised comment Murdoch made about Fairfax was in March when he tweeted his views on a story published in the Australian Financial Review about the past shenanigans at one of News Corp’s subsidiaries that allegedly promoted high-tech piracy that damaged the profits of its pay TV rivals.
”Proof you can’t trust anything in Australian Fairfax papers, unless you are just another crazy,” Murdoch tweeted.
DJs’ suitor named
THE ”hoax” $1.65 billion takeover bid for David Jones is not all bad news.
DJs on Friday said ”a UK blog site has released the name of EB Private Equity (EBPE) as the party that has made an approach to David Jones Limited to acquire the company”.
DJs’ chairman, Bob Savage, earlier in the day noted how the company received a ”letter” (aka email) from the takeover suitor which left no phone number.
At least the takeover ”offer”, which helped DJs shares jump 15 per cent on the last business day of the financial year, would have pleased some fund managers keen to repair their battered portfolios.
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