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Arizona private investment group Jet Acquisitions Group Inc. and AMR Corp. both placed bids Wednesday for bankrupt Trans World Airlines Inc., setting up a possible showdown for control of the nation’s eighth-largest carrier. Separately, another group offered $220 million for TWA’s stake in an electronic reservation system. Jet Acquisitions, a private investment group led by Scottsdale, Ariz., attorney Stanford Lerch, is offering to pay $889 million in cash for TWA and assume some of its debt, according to a Wednesday filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The offer would allow a separate auction for TWA’s 26 percent stake in Worldspan LP, an electronic reservation system. Galileo International LLC, a Rosemont, Ill.-based group represented by an attorney who had originally been retained by Jet Acquisitions, said Wednesday that it would pay $220 million for that interest in Worldspan. Jet Acquisitions bid would appear to top AMR’s $500 million cash bid, which so far has been the leading offer for TWA. However, both groups will have a chance to amend their offers Monday, when an auction for TWA’s assets is scheduled at the New York offices of the company’s bankruptcy counsel, Kirkland & Ellis. The bidding will be open only to groups that sent an opening offer to the court Wednesday. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Peter Walsh is expected to approve the final bid at a hearing March 9. AMR, the Fort Worth, Texas-based parent of American Airlines, agreed to purchase TWA on Jan. 10, the same day the St. Louis-based carrier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. AMR had hoped to shield its offer from competing bids by requesting $65 million in breakup fees and by asking that other bidders beat its $500 million offer by at least $75 million. A district court judge approved those measures earlier this month. Surprisingly, the TWA bankruptcy docket did not show Northwest Airlines Corp. making an offer for TWA’s stake in Worldspan. The St. Paul, Minn.-based company co-owns Worldspan along with Delta Air Lines Inc. Northwest was one of the main forces pushing for a separate auction of TWA’s stake. Representatives for Northwest did not return calls seeking confirmation Wednesday. Although its offer had not been posted in the docket either, AMR confirmed in a statement Wednesday that it made a bid for most of TWA’s assets, including more than 150 slots at airports in New York and Washington, D.C. The company said it also offered to buy most of TWA’s assets in St. Louis as well as its maintenance facilities in Kansas City, Mo. and Los Angeles. AMR said Wednesday that it will not assume a ticket-purchase agreement between TWA and financier Carl Icahn or its current labor contracts. Icahn has been trying to save the ticket-purchase agreement and has filed an appeal of the bid procedures with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. TWA’s unions are in talks to merge with AMR’s unions. The statement also said it will not take over the naming rights to the Trans World America Dome, the stadium that is the home of the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams. Copyright (c)2001 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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