Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, August 24, 1999

Cheap Tickets stock rated 'strong buy'

Cheap Tickets Inc.shares got a boost today after a Wall Street analyst rated the stock a "strong buy."

Shares in the Honolulu-based seller of discounted airline tickets, rose $2.06, or 5 percent, to close at $43.12 in Nasdaq trading. In covering the company for the first time, analyst John M. Segrich of CIBC World Markets Inc. set a 12-month target price of $64 on the stock, according to Bloomberg News.

Firm seeks merger of Canadian airlines

MONTREAL -- Onex Corp., a Toronto-based conglomerate, is offering $3.8 billion to buy and combine Air Canada and Canadian Airlines Corp., saying bold action is needed to preserve the nation's airline business.

A single airline, which would retain the Air Canada name, would be more efficient and financially stronger than the separate operations, said Gerald Schwartz, the president and chief executive of Onex. The buyout and merger would involve the loss of 5,000 jobs, Schwartz told a news conference today.

Air Canada said in a statement it had been informed of Onex's "unsolicited, below-market offer" but would have no comment until completing a review of the proposal. The plan has already been approved by the board of Calgary-based Canadian Airlines, Schwartz said.

In Calgary, the board of Canadian welcomed the Onex plan in a statement saying it offered the chance of a "truly national airline for Canada."

AOL upgrades Instant Messaging

DULLES, Va. -- America Online Inc., the big Internet service provider, today unveiled the latest version of its AOL Instant Messenger system. AOL, of Dulles, Va., said the new version adds a number of functions, including customized news and stock quotes. The Version 3.0 software system can be downloaded for free. Instant messaging allows users to type out and exchange rapid-fire messages online in real time, without the delay of e-mail.

Microsoft Corp. introduced a competing service in July.

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