Scourge of APA’s Qantas bid quits UBS

Australian fund manager Paul Fiani, who was instrumental in the collapse of Airline Partners Australia’s bid for Qantas, has reportedly left UBS to set up on his own.

The Australian fund manager at UBS who played a part in the collapse of the Macquarie-led consortium Airline Partners Australia’s A$11.1billion ($9.2 billion, €6.8 billion) bid for Qantas has left the investment bank.

The UK newspaper Financial Times reported Paul Fiani has left the bank to set up his own “boutique” fund management company.

During the bidding Fiani had refused to surrender the company’s 6 percent stake in the airline, despite UBS’s mandate to advise the APA consortium on the deal, which would have earned the bank millions of dollars in fees if the bid had succeeded.

The consortium, which included US buyout firm Texas Pacific Group, local group Allco, and Canadian investment firm Onex, failed to secure 50 percent shareholder acceptance for it’s A$5.45 a share bid earlier this month. Fiani had been a vocal opponent of the bid, saying it undervalued the company. Andrew Sisson from fund manager Balanced Equity Management also withheld a further 4 percent stake from the consortium.

Qantas shares were steady at A$5.11 at the close of the Australian markets, a 25.7 percent increase on six months ago when the bid rumours began to circulate and 8.68 percent up from last month when the company’s fate was still in the balance.

One person familiar with the situation told the FT: “The whole Qantas saga has made (Fiani’s) reputation and it will now be easier for him to charm pension funds for mandates. He has a story to tell.”