Bankrupt Air Canada's future appeared more perilous than ever after its failure late Tuesday to wring $32.4 million in concessions from the only one of seven unions still resisting its plans for restructuring. The Canadian Auto Workers, which represents ticket and reservations agents, warned it "may not be able to bridge the gap" with the carrier, whose court-ordered protection from creditors expires Friday. Without the concessions, Air Canada stands to lose a guaranteed emergency line of credit worth $610 million offered by Germany's Deutsche Bank and could be ordered liquidated. Analysts saw the union's strategy as a ploy to lure the government into the issue, since Canada is in an election year. But for its part, the Transport Ministry was not tipping its hand, saying it seeks a "private sector" solution and is encouraging the sides to keep negotiating.
Marsh & McLennan Cos., one of the nation's leading insurance brokers, will buy security consultant Kroll Inc. for $1.9 billion in cash, the companies announced. Kroll also provides investigative services. Both are based in New York.
In a deal valued at $1.01 billion, the dominant communications company in Chile agreed to sell the remaining shares in its cellphone unit to Telefónica Móviles of Spain. The latter already owns 44 percent of CTC (Compañia de Telecommunicaciones de Chile) and will assume $243 million of its debt as part of the deal. Telefónica Móviles is expected to merge its new acquisition with the Chilean subsidiary of BellSouth Corp. of the US, whose Latin America operations it is buying for $5.85 billion.
Freedom Communications, owner of the Orange County (Calif.) Register and 60 other newspaper and TV outlets, wrapped up a recapitalization deal Tuesday that ensures it will remain one of the nation's last family-owned media companies. The deal, in which about 40 family members cashed out almost $1 billion worth of holdings, ends years of squabbling among descendents of the company's late founder. Published reports said 40 remaining family shareholders will exercise 50.1 percent of the voting power. Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners, which have invested $1.3 billion in the chain, can choose to increase their stake, however.