A few points need to be made (although I am 100% in agreement with your topic line).
* SIA's shareholding in NZ is very small - around 5% and they only have one seat on the board now.
* QF doesn't want NZ for prestige - it wants it because it eliminates one of its major regional competitors, and will increase the number of people arriving in Australia on Qantas or part-Qantas-owned airlines.
* QF was one of the airlines that help a shareholding back in the TEAL days. The relationship was not always amicable - Qantas were accused of lumping TEAL with older aircraft - and it was joked that TEAL stood for 'Take Electras And Like it'. Qantas's share was later acquired by the government, I believe.
* When NZ was privatised in the early 1990s, Qantas bought a shareholding (I believe it was around the 10% mark). This was sold for competition reasons in 1997, following NZ's 50% purchase of Ansett Australia. I cannot recall the extent of cooperation between the two airlines in this period, but I do believe there may have been codesharing.
* An LH/SQ combined bid would be very interesting - in fact I was intending to post that exact idea later on today, so it looks like you have beaten me to it. Conceivably, LH could buy say 15%, and SQ increase its share to 20%, reaching the 35% foreign airline ownership. Perhaps they could even get around the 35% foreign airline ownership cap by setting up a holding company, and having that company buy 49% of NZ, the cap on foreign ownership. Perhaps someone who has read and has an understanding of the acts controlling foreign ownership of Air NZ could tell us whether such a set up would be allowable or not.
* Slightly off topic, in today's Australian Financial Review, there was an article regarding Qantas's foreign ownership caps (which are the same as Air NZ's - a foreign airline can hold no more than 25%, foreign airlines can hold no more than 35% in total, and foreign companies can hold no more than 49% in total). Qantas believes that unless this cap is lifted, it may not be able to capitalise sufficiently to support its fleet modernisation plans. Apparently the management at Qantas believe that foreign ownership can exceed 50% without jeopardising Bilateral Air Services agreements, provided the company's head office is in Australia, and the board is primarily Australian. They are apparently lobbying the government to accept this as the definition of 'Predominantly Australian controlled and operated'. The Government is expected to announce its decision on the matter near the end of August.
So, it looks like there could be interesting times ahead. Air NZ will announce its new domestic fare structures tomorrow - I am very interested to hear what
they will be offering.
One last thing - did this really deserve a new thread, when you said pretty much the same thing in another?
"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh