Big Airline Merger Coming? Morning Business Memo

Is another merger in the works in the airline industry? US Airways might be stepping up its drive for a possible takeover of bankrupt American Airlines.

A published report says US Airways is discussing a plan with some creditors of the bankrupt carrier and its advisers. American's parent company filed for Chapter 11 in November. US Airways CEO Doug Parker told reporters this week that advisers have been hired to consider a bid. AMR Corporation says it will ask a federal bankruptcy judge to throw out its existing labor contracts. American wants to impose its own terms as it seeks costs savings for the money-losing airline.

Give us your title and you can stay in your home as renters. That's the offer from Bank of America to some of its mortgage customers who are facing foreclosure. The "Mortgage to Lease" program will only be available to about 1,000 BofA customers selected by the bank in test markets in Arizona, Nevada and New York. The rent payments would be less than monthly mortgage costs. "The program highlights how investors are increasingly interested in becoming landlords on troubled properties," today's New York Times reports.

FedEx has cut back its forecast for global economic growth. The giant package delivery company plans to park some of its aircraft and reduce its workforce. FedEx announced stronger than expected profits for its most recent quarter. The prediction of sluggish growth overseas follows fresh concerns about manufacturing output by China and the likelihood of a mild recession this year in much of Europe.

It might be a good idea to watch your cellphone the next time you go to a Starbucks. A study by Lookout Labs, a mobile security firm, finds coffee shops were the most likely spot for Americans to have their cellphones lost or stolen. Other problem places include bars, offices, restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. Americans lose their cellphones an average of about once a year.

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