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Governor Declares ‘All-out War’ Against Davis Bid For Airline

April 3, 1989

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Gov. Rudy Perpich has vowed ″all-out war″ against bids to take over Northwest Airlines, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier.

Perpich made his promise after meeting with representatives of Northwest’s unions Sunday, three days after Denver billionaire Marvin Davis announced his $2.62 billion offer for the suburb Eagan-based airline.

Patrice Vick, Perpich’s spokeswoman, said lawyers were reviewing ways to ward off a takeover, but she declined to comment on them. ″It would be premature to discuss options now,″ she said.

At the 90-minute meeting, state officials discussed the possibility of drafting emergency legislation giving the Metropolitan Airports Commission authority to accept or reject a new Northwest owner, WCCO-TV reported.

The station also reported that officials were considering whether a takeover could breach implied contracts between the airline and the airports commission. A lawsuit over such contracts was mentioned as a way to prevent a takeover, it said.

Among those who attended the meeting were AFL-CIO President Danny Gustafson, a representative of Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., state Attorney General Hubert H. Humphrey III and representatives of the Teamsters and the International Association of Machinists, according to a statement.

″We have worked hard over the past six years to add 300,000 jobs to our state economy but a takeover of Northwest Airlines would knock the foundation out from under all of our efforts,″ Perpich said in the statement. ″This will be all-out war as far as the state of Minnesota is concerned.″

Northwest has said its board would review Davis’ offer but also said the company intends to remain independent.

The company made no announcements Sunday and calls to its media relations office weren’t answered.

Among other possible defenses, Humphrey’s office could investigate possible violations of state and federal transportation regulations while Oberstar, who is chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, could investigate the finances of Northwest bidders.

Some analysts have said a takeover of Northwest could result in the firing of some of the company’s 35,000 employees.

″We’re very concerned about the situation,″ Eagan Mayor Vic Ellison said. Northwest employees ″are a very important part of our economy.″

The company’s stock has been rising since Tuesday, when the airline announced that a group of investors owned 4.9 percent of its common stock and was interested in buying the company.

Davis, whose offer isn’t connected with the other group, owns about 3 percent of Northwest’s 29.1 million shares. He has said his $90-a-share offer expires April 21 and is contingent on arranging financing.

Stock in NWA Inc., Northwest’s parent company, hit an all-time high Friday, closing at $84 5/8 , up $16 3/8 .

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