Hard decisions lie ahead for the fat cat executives at Woodside Petroleum. Their cosy world has been turned upside down by a proposed merger/takeover from the Royal Dutch/Shell group.While the precise terms are yet to be revealed, the end game is for Shell to get at least 50 per cent (and possibly as much as 60 per cent) of Woodside.So what, you say. Shell already owns 34 per cent of Woodside. A bit extra won’t make a difference.Wanna bet? At 50.1 per cent the boys (and girls) from Shell will really let Woodside know who’s master. Heads will roll, salaries will fall, jobs will go. Shell has been annoyed for years about the lax performance at a business it already considers a subsidiary.Little wonder that the senior staff at Woodside are plotting the unthinkable – outright opposition to the merger proposal from a company which already effectively controls them.It’s Hobson’s choice (no choice at all) for the Woodside team. Capitulate and wait for the axe. Fight and die honourably on your sword.
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