Canadian firm Onex Corp. is reported to be involved in the consortium putting together a takeover bid for Australian airline Qantas.

Toronto-based Onex is said to be allied withthe private U.S. investment firm Texas Pacific Group of Fort Worth, Texas, the Globe and Mail reported in its Thursday edition.

Onex is no stranger to takeover attempts in the airline sector. In 1999, the company launched a bid to acquire Air Canada and Canadian Airlines International. That bid ultimately fell apart over legal issues, and Air Canada subsequently bought Canadian Airlines.

Onex officials declined to comment on the report.

Shares of Onex were up 42 cents at $27.76 on the TSX.

Numerous hurdles

Word of a possible $11-billion AUD ($9.71 billion Cdn) bid for Qantas led by Macquarie Bank, the biggest securities firm in Australia, emerged on Wednesday.

A takeover of Qantas would face some serious legal and political hurdles, as the Australian government has said it is not interested in relaxing the country's foreign-ownership rules.

Under legislation passed in 1995, Qantas must remain Australian controlled. Foreign investors are not allowed to hold more than 49 per cent of the carrier, and no one shareholder is permitted to hold more than 25 per cent of the company.

The company's headquarters must remain in Australia, and the majority of the board of directors, including the chairman, must also be Australian citizens.

With files from the Associated Press