US Airways Group and its pilots union plan to resume talks on $295 million in pay and benefit cuts the carrier needs to help avoid a second bankruptcy filing. US Airways, the seventh-largest U.S. airline, wants to secure labor concessions by the end of September to avoid defaulting on a $1 billion loan. The pilots union made a proposal Saturday, after its leadership declined to let members vote on a company offer, and got a new proposal yesterday from the company, which the union's Master Executive Council found "unanimously unacceptable."
Snyder Picks Up Stake in Six Flags
Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, bought an 8.8 stake in Six Flags, which operates amusement parks. Snyder said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that he may seek representation on Six Flags' board or try to influence the company's management. Snyder may also encourage the company to sell its assets or refinance, the filing said. Snyder's Red Zone bought 8.15 million Six Flag shares Aug. 11 through Aug. 30 for about $34.5 million.
Hollinger International, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times, said a committee of its board investigating allegations that former chief executive Conrad Black and other top executives looted the company of more than $380 million filed a report with a court in Chicago. The full report will be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission and available to investors today. "It is an important step forward in our pursuit of restitution for funds and assets inappropriately taken from the company's coffers," said Gordon Paris, Hollinger International's interim chief executive and chairman of the committee. In a separate report, Hollinger Inc., the holding company of Hollinger International, said the SEC may begin civil proceedings against the parent company for securities violations. Hollinger Inc. plans to make a so-called Wells submission to the SEC's Midwest regional office stating why the action should not be initiated, the company said in a statement. It said a similar notice was sent to some directors and officers, without naming them.
ATA Holdings, an airline company in danger of defaulting on its debt, said its stock will stop trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market in November if its market value doesn't regain minimum levels. The company has until Nov. 23 to increase the value of its publicly held shares to $15 for more than 10 consecutive trading days to avoid losing its listing, according to an SEC filing.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission found no evidence of trader misconduct in a 48 percent natural gas price rally during three weeks at the end of last year. The probe, which the CFTC began in early December, attributed the price rise to colder-than-expected temperatures in the Northeast in the first week of December and industry forecasts of the amount of gas in storage.
Circuit City Stores said Verizon Wireless will operate mobile-telephone outlets in more than 570 of the electronics retailer's locations by November. Circuit City will phase out sales of phones and service for T-Mobile USA, the wireless telephone division of Deutsche Telekom, the company said.
T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 1.58 percent from 1.515 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 1.775 percent from 1.665 percent. The actual return to investors is 1.607 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,960.10, and 1.815 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,910.30. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 2.03 percent last week from 1.98 percent the previous week.
Vanguard Group, the second-largest U.S. mutual fund manager, withheld votes from at least one corporate board nominee at 60 percent of the companies in which it submitted proxies. In all, Vanguard did not support 30 percent of board candidates in the 12 months ended June 30, the company said on its Web site. The firm voted to keep chief executive Michael D. Eisner on Walt Disney Co.'s board.
PC Magazine's publisher said it would reclassify about 20 percent of its circulation from paid to non-paid as a result of an audit by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, a publishing industry group. Ziff Davis Media, a New York publisher of technology magazines, said it would reclassify about 260,000 of its 1.2 million subscriptions from 2003 and the first half of 2004. The total circulation figures remain unchanged.
The World Trade Organization rejected a U.S. appeal of a February finding that Canada does not violate international law in its wheat trade. The Canadian Wheat Board buys wheat and barley produced in Canada's western prairie provinces at a price fixed by the Canadian government. The North Dakota Wheat Commission and other trade groups argued that the Canadian board undercuts the price of its wheat to gain market share around the world.
United Rentals, North America's largest equipment-rental company, said it received a subpoena from the SEC for some of its accounting records. The SEC is conducting a "fact-finding" inquiry of the company and didn't specify the purpose of the search, which doesn't include charges of wrongdoing, United Rentals said in a statement.
Exxon Mobil said executive vice president and board member Harry J. Longwell plans to retire at the end of the year after serving nine years as a director and 41 years with the company. The company also said it expects its board to make several appointments, effective Oct. 1. Stuart R. McGill, president of ExxonMobil Production, will become senior vice president of Exxon Mobil.
Thailand, which has 60,000 tons of frozen chicken it can't sell because of a trade ban, is in talks with Russia to exchange the meat for fighter jets. The Thai government offered to swap 250,000 tons of chicken meat in the next five years for fighter aircraft made by Russia's Sukhoi Holding, a Thai trade group said in a statement. The government's trade representative will meet Russian officials Sept. 5-8 for negotiations about the chicken-for-aircraft proposal, the statement said.
Japan's Supreme Court said merger talks could proceed between UFJ Holdings and Mitsubishi Tokyo Group -- the latest development in an escalating battle among the country's top banks to potentially create the world's largest bank. The decision was a setback for rival Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, which has offered $29 billion to purchase UFJ and taken unusually aggressive steps to block a union between the other two.
China's Railway Ministry awarded contracts for upgrading key railway lines to six firms, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan, Alstom of France and Bombadier of Canada. The deals, part of a $12 billion project to double the speed of trains on five railway lines to 125 miles per hour, mark the first major transfer of Japan's bullet-train technology to China, the state media said.
MCI is asking a court to throw out an almost $90 million claim filed by one of its landlords. Celtic Holdings, which leased New York office space to MCI, says the Ashburn long-distance telephone company owes it for unpaid rent and damage to the premises. MCI disputes the amount of rent owed and denies it damaged the property.
American Electric Power won approval from Virginia's State Corporation Commission to transfer control of its power lines in the state to PJM Interconnection, the grid operator for the mid-Atlantic region. The action removed the final obstacle to the utility's planned Oct. 1 integration into the grid.
Sherwin-Williams received federal antitrust clearance to buy Beltsville-based Duron for $253 million. Sherwin-Williams has said the Duron transaction would be its largest purchase of paint stores, expanding its total by 8.6 percent, to 2,691 shops.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.