Business & Finance

General Growth Properties Inc., a leading developer of shopping malls, said it wouldn't rule out jettisoning some properties among the 40 acquired late last week in its blockbuster $7.2 billion purchase of Rouse Co. A General Growth spokesman said his company would consider "any and all alternatives" in assessing what bests fits its portfolio, which now includes 225 malls. Buying Rouse, a pioneer of entertainment mall retailing, gives General Growth such premier properties as the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas and Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston. Other signature Rouse developments are New York's South Street Seaport and Harborplace in Baltimore. General Growth is based in Chicago; Rouse in Columbia, Md.

Apache Corp. scheduled a news conference for Monday to confirm that it and a partner will acquire all but one of the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas properties of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for $1.31 billion. In partnership with Morgan Stanley Capital Group, Apache will take over operation of 78 fields and 112 platforms, leaving Anadarko with only one offshore platform in shallower waters of the gulf. The company has said it wants to focus on deepwater production. Anadarko and Apache both are based in Houston.

Over the objections of United Airlines' unionized employees, a bankruptcy court in Chicago Friday OK'd an amended financing plan, which calls for terminating the company's contributions to pension funds. United says it needs such flexibility to secure the loans needed to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The plan would give the nation's No. 2 airline, whose 119,000 employees and retirees depend on its survival, an additional $500 million and allow six more months - or until next June - to pay it off.

Aer Lingus set a Sept. 14 deadline for employees to accept an early retirement offer and said it hoped that more than 1,300, or one-third of the workforce, would do so. But the major union representing employees of the state-owned Irish airline advised its members against taking the offer, which would pay between $49,000 and $86,000, depending on years of service. The Service, Industrial, Professional, and Technical Union insists on a package of guarantees for remaining employees, among them job security and a financial stake in the carrier.

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