UAL holding meetings on USAir offer United Airlines parent to decide whether to acquire carrier


CHICAGO -- UAL Corp., the parent of United Airlines, is set to meet next week with investors, union officials and directors to discuss whether or not it will proceed with an offer for USAir Group Inc.

UAL is expected to finish a study evaluating a merger by Monday. The airline began the study in early October, when it disclosed that it was talking with USAir about possible strategic alliances that include an acquisition.

UAL executives and representatives of its labor unions are scheduled to meet Tuesday with investors and analysts at the company's annual securities analyst meeting in Chicago.

The Chicago-based company will present results of its study on Thursday at a three-day meeting of the Air Line Pilots Association's master executive council, according to a spokeswoman for the union.

UAL is expected to meet with all of its labor groups by Nov. 12, the pilots said.

Representatives for UAL's other unions -- the International Association of Machinists and the Association of Flight Attendants -- weren't available for immediate comment.

A special board meeting has been scheduled for Nov. 13, where UAL is expected to decide whether it makes strategic sense for the largest U.S. airline to acquire USAir, the pilots union said.

The company, which originally expected to announce its position by the end of October, put the decision off until mid-November. It has never specified a date.

UAL can't go ahead with the acquisition without the support of its employees, which own 55 percent of the airline.

Its pilots union and machinists are UAL's two largest shareholders, holding 25.4 percent and 20.5 percent of UAL stock, respectively.

Both unions also are represented on UAL's board.

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