Holder: Concessions needed for merger

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said American Airlines and US Airways must make broad concessions if they want to settle a lawsuit blocking their proposed merger.

Holder said Monday that the government’s concerns about the merger extend beyond the control that American and US Airways would have at Washington’s busy Reagan National Airport.

The attorney general’s comments show that the parties could try to reach a deal and avoid a Nov. 25 trial on the lawsuit, but also could indicate that the government’s demands may be too steep for the airlines.

The government sued to block the merger, which would create the world’s biggest airline, on grounds that it would restrict competition and drive up prices for consumers on hundreds of routes across the country.

At a news conference in Washington, Holder said his department has focused on forcing American and US Airways to make concessions at key busy airports throughout the United States.

“We will not agree to something that does not fundamentally resolve the concerns that were expressed in the [lawsuit] and do not substantially bring relief to consumers,” Holder said. If there is no settlement, he said, the department is ready to take the case to trial.

American Airlines offered a terse response to Holder’s comments. “Any discussions about settlement to resolve this litigation, whether internal, with DOJ directly or through the mediator, would be private, and we are not going to comment on them in any way,” said Mike Trevino, a spokesman for the airline.

US Airways also said it would not comment on the discussions.

— Associated Press

Twitter raises
IPO price range

Twitter raised the top end of its initial public offering price range by 25 percent and will close its books a day early, signaling strong demand for the most closely watched Silicon Valley debut since Facebook last year.

Amid a red-hot market for IPOs and soaring equity markets, Twitter raised its price range to $23 to $25 per share Monday, but kept the offering size at 70 million shares. That means it will raise up to $2 billion if an overallotment option of 10.5 million shares is exercised.

Twitter is the best known Silicon Valley company to go public since Facebook, though it is seeking a far smaller valuation of up to $13.6 billion compared with Facebook’s $100 billion.

Twitter plans to close the books on the IPO on Tuesday at 12 p.m. EST, a day earlier than scheduled, because of strong demand, according to two people with knowledge of the process.

The IPO is set to price on Wednesday, with shares to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. The previous price range was $17 to $20 a share.

The new pricing would value the company at up to $13.6 billion, or about 12.5 to 13.6 times forecast 2014 revenue of $1 billion, according to eMarketer.
Facebook and LinkedIn trade at about 12 times forecast 2014 revenue.

— Reuters

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