Loral challenges LTV sale plan

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THE BIDDING war for the missile and aerospace divisions of the Dallas-based LTV Corporation shows no signs of letting up, with Loral Corporation challenging LTV's agreement to sell the divisions to Martin Marietta Corporation for dollars 440m ( pounds 233m) in cash and preferred stock.

Loral, which had partnered Thomson-CSF of France in a previous bid, which was withdrawn because of political opposition related to foreign access to sensitive military information, expressed surprise at an announcement on Monday that LTV was planning to recommend the dollars 440m deal with Marietta to the bankruptcy court.

Loral claimed that it submitted its own dollars 445m bid last Friday, in partnership with Northrop Corporation and the Carlyle Group, and has now increased the cash element of this bid from dollars 395m to dollars 424m, with the balance in the form of preferred stock.

This compares with a cash element in the Marietta bid of dollars 396m, with dollars 44m payable in preferred stock. The final decision rests with Burton Lifland, a New York bankruptcy court judge, who has supervised LTV since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1986.

Any proceeds from the sale will be used to make up some of the shortfall in underfunded LTV steelworker pension funds.

An LTV spokesman said that the company had not received anything official from Loral. He added that LTV hoped to have a court hearing by the end of next week, at which it would recommend the Marietta offer. Martin Marietta had previously offered dollars 355m for both divisions in a joint bid with Lockheed.