Bank May Help Rival Suitors for NWA

Times Staff Writer

Bankers Trust said Friday that it might help finance two opposing bidders for NWA Inc., the parent of Northwest Airlines.

The New York-based bank, which is already raising funds to support a bid by Los Angeles financier Alfred A. Checchi, said it may also help finance a competing offer for NWA by Pan Am Corp.

George Fasel, a spokesman for Bankers Trust, said it is not a conflict for the bank to support two separate bids. He said Checchi and Pan Am are dealing with different divisions of Bankers Trust, the nation’s ninth-largest bank. “It’s often the case that different parts of the bank work independently of each other,” he said.


“We’re aware that they are supporting the Checchi group,” said Pamela Hanlon, a spokeswoman for Pan Am. “They said they don’t think it’s a conflict, and we don’t see it as a conflict.”

A spokeswoman for Checchi said he was out-of-town Friday and could not be reached. Checchi’s bid is being financed by the Bankers Trust merchant banking division. The bank would not disclose which of its divisions is dealing with Pan Am.

Considering Alternatives

According to Pan Am, the airline is “in active discussions” with Bankers Trust, Security Pacific National Bank and First National Bank of Chicago in an effort to raise $1.6 billion to support a bid for NWA. Pan Am said it expects to receive commitments from the three banks by Tuesday, the deadline established by NWA for submission of offers for the airline company.

NWA, based in Eagan, Minn., operates the nation’s fourth-largest airline. Its board has said that it is considering all alternatives for the company’s future, including a sale or restructuring that could include a special dividend to shareholders.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that was made public Friday, NWA said it has instructed prospective bidders that any offers must remain in effect until June 16, giving NWA up to 17 days to evaluate them. In addition, NWA said a winning bidder who backs out of the deal will have to pay the airline a $25-million fee.

Separately, a Northwest pilot filed suit against NWA in Delaware Chancery Court on Friday in an effort to extend the bidding process. In the suit, pilot Colin F. Wilson, also an NWA shareholder, said NWA manipulated the auction process by barring prospective bidders from talking to Northwest’s unions. The pilots are attempting to negotiate a contract with NWA.