Business & Finance

The verdict reading in the politically charged Moscow trial of oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky adjourned Monday until Tuesday, but lawyers and supporters said they had heard enough to be certain he would be found guilty. The adjournment was called about three hours after the judge began reading the verdict aloud. Under the Russian legal system, the verdict is not a simple pronouncement but a long statement of the facts of the case that could take several days to complete. Khodorkovsky was one of the so-called oligarchs who made vast fortunes in the 1990s through often-murky deals stemming from the privatization of state enterprises. He later tried to shed his robber-baron image by turning Yukos into what was regarded as Russia's best-run major company. It once had a market value of $40 billion but is now valued at just $2 billion; investors expect it to fall to zero.

As they discuss a possible merger, US Airways and Amer ica West are near a deal for a $250 million loan from Airbus as part of a 20-jet order for the aircraftmaker's new A350 model, according to The Wall Street Journal's online edition. Bankrupt US Airways Group Inc. and America West Holdings Corp. could announce a merger as soon as this week, published accounts indicate.

Varig, Brazil's flagship airline, has chosen to enter formal talks with TAP Air Portugal on forming a rescue plan to prevent the South American carrier from collapsing under a mountain of debt, news reports said Monday. Any deal involving heavy foreign investment in Varig or management control of the airline by a foreign company could meet stiff public and political resistance. The airline, founded in 1927, has always been in Brazilian hands and is a source of national pride.

YBR Group, the European telephone-directory publisher also known as Yellow Brick Road, is being sold for $2.3 billion to a consortium led by Australia's Macquarie Capital Alliance Group, Macquarie said Sunday. The sellers are 3i Group Plc, Europe's largest publicly traded buyout firm, and New York's Veronis Suhler. YBR compiles print and online directories in the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Directory companies are sought-after buyout targets in Europe, especially among private equity firms drawn to their steady cash flows and the sector's low stock-market valuations.

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