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Continental Airlines is holding preliminary talks about acquiring the far larger Delta Air Lines, The Washington Post reported. Industry sources told the newspaper that particular scenario was being considered because of a complicating role played by Northwest Airlines, which has veto power over a takeover of Continental. Delta and Continental both are exploring options, the Post said, in light of the proposed deals between United and US Airways, and American and Trans World Airlines.

Bridge Information Systems, a leading provider of financial information, is considering selling its Bridge Trading brokerage unit and other assets as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy-protection petition to be filed today, according to an unnamed source close to the situation. He said the New York-based company had reached a deal with a majority of its creditors to sell $400 million in assets. But last Thursday, a dissenting creditor, Highland Capital, filed an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition to liquidate Bridge Information Systems (BIS). The new deal seeks to convert the petition to a voluntary one and would allow BIS to restructure its finances and continue to operate. Bridge has an estimated $800 million in bank debt.

So many banks have merged since 1999 - or soon will - that by next year 300,000 jobs in the industry will have disappeared in Western Europe alone, results of a new study indicated. And if last year's proposed merger between Germany's giant Deutsche and Dresdner banks hadn't collapsed, that total would have grown by another 6,000 jobs, a report by the International Labor Organization said. The ILO, an arm of the UN, said the job cuts in banking often are so deep that they affect the ability of merger partners to reach their financial-return goals. The agency is to hold a conference this week in Geneva on mergers.

Recommended: FISA 101: 10 key dates in the evolution of NSA surveillance

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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