Business & Finance

A major shake-up in the car-rental industry - the sale of Hertz Corp. - could be announced as soon as Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported. Ford, which owns Hertz, would not comment on the report. But, citing "sources familiar with the matter," the Journal said a consortium of buyout specialists led by Clayton Dubilier & Rice Inc. of New York and the global equity fund of Merrill Lynch & Co. appears ready to pay up to $6 billion for Hertz and to assume more than $10 billion in debt.

Struggling Delta Air Lines announced a cut of 25 percent of the flights from its No. 2 hub, Cincinnati, and the sale of 11 jets to an air freight company for $190 million. The buyer, ABX Air Inc. of Wilmington, Ohio, said it would reconfigure the planes for hauling cargo. Delta said it couldn't estimate the number of jobs that will be lost at Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky International Airport because affected employees would be offered relocation opportunities. It also announced plans to expand service to Hawaii and 41 international destinations. Meanwhile, Northwest Airlines and the union representing its striking mechanics were to resume contract negotiations Thursday. But the carrier warned that it would hire permanent replacements for the strikers, beginning Wednesday, unless a new deal is reached by then.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the pharmaceutical giant, said it will buy Canada's ID Biomedical Corp. $1.4 billion, plus the assumption of $77 million of the latter's debt. ID Biomedical, a leading supplier of influenza vaccine, is based in Vancouver, British Columbia; GSK in London.

Boeing was chosen to build F-15 jet fighters for the government of Singapore in a deal projected to be worth more than $1 billion, the Financial Times reported.

Arvin Meritor Inc., a leading supplier of parts to the auto industry, announced the closure of its assembly plant in Pulaski, Tenn., a move affecting 268 employees. The company said it would transfer some of the production to plants in Detroit and Toronto and phase out the rest by next July.

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