Business & Finance

With whispers of impending bankruptcy growing louder, Delta Air Lines agreed to sell one of its regional commuter subsidiaries for $425 million. The deal will transfer Atlantic Southeast Airlines to Sky West Inc. of St. George, Utah. The latter operates flights for Delta Connection, another subsidiary. Delta's shares have lost more than 80 percent of their value this year and will be removed from Standard & Poor's widely watched 500 Index at the close of business Thursday, reported.

Leveraged buyout giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts was among three bidders whose efforts to buy a $2.4 billion stake in Samsung Life Insurance Co. were rejected, reports said. The latter is South Korea's largest life underwriter, and 18 percent of its shares have been put up for sale by banks that accepted them as collateral for the unpaid debt of Samsung Motors, a sister company. But KKR, MBK Partners of Seoul, and Asian investment specialist Olympus Capital were turned down because none of them met a government requirement that they already own insurance subsidiaries or have at least a 15 percent stake in an insurer.

JPMorgan Chase agreed to another settlement involving Enron - this one due to the latter's claim that lenders could have prevented its 2001 collapse. The new settlement will cost the banking giant roughly $1 billion, a statement said. Enron is seeking similar settlements from such financial services powerhouses as Citigroup, Merrill Lynch & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston, Barclays PLC, Deutsche Bank, and Canada's Toronto-Dominion Bank. In June, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $2.2 billion to Enron shareholders to resolve a class-action suit alleging that it and other banks helped to hide the energy trader's problems via off-the-books partnerships even as the Houston company was imploding.

OfficeMax Inc. will relocate its suburban Chicago headquarters, adding as many as 600 staffers who will be transferred once its retailing base in Shaker Heights, Ohio, is closed, an announcement said. The nation's third-largest office-supply chain had its home office in that Cleveland suburb until it was acquired two years ago by forest products giant Boise Cascade Corp. OfficeMax currently is housed in an Itasca, Ill., building that's too small and hopes to settle on a new site by the end of next month, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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