Early Briefing: What United-US Airways Could Mean Here

(Elaine Thompson - Associated Press)

*Northwest and Delta are merging, and Continental spurned United last weekend. So now United and US Airways are talking, a tieup that has been rejected before. A combined United-US Airways would be smaller than Delta-Northwest, but it would handle more than half of departures from major Washington area airports, according to an analysis of flight data.

The combined carrier's large share of the Washington market would make it easier for it to reduce costs by limiting flights and boosting fares because there would be less competition, according to analysts and academics.

*It could cost you more to get out of Washington, but it should be easier to get to the airport. Federal transportation officials are planning to approve the proposed 23-mile extension of Metrorail to Dulles International Airport in a letter to Congress today, officials told local and state authorities yesterday.

Richad F. Syron (By Chitose Suzuki -- Associated Press)

*Freddie Mac chairman and chief executive Richard F. Syron last year received a $1.2 million salary, $3.5 million in bonuses, $8.3 million in stock awards and $771,585 in perks and benefits, according to the company's proxy. The compensation committee of Freddie Mac's board listed a variety of "notable accomplishments ... that have better positioned the company," including its "market-leading response to early signs of the subprime crisis."

But two weeks ago, its regulator, Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, had a different take in an annual report to Congress. It discussed, among other things, why it believes Freddie Mac remains "a significant supervisory concern."

*Genentech and Biogen are Human Genome Sciences' chief competitors in the race to develop the first new lupus drug in four decades, and they said their drug failed in late-stage human testing. Because the HGS drug and the other one are similar in nature, Mark Schoenebaum, a Bear Stearns analyst, said, "I think any reasonable observer has got to conclude that the probability of success has come down."

However, HGS officials brushed aside that suggestion.

"I don't conclude that," said David Stump, executive vice president of research and development at Rockville-based HGS. "Not at all."

*XM Satellite Radio of the District and Sirius Satellite Radio of New York are still waiting for a ruling on their proposed merger from the Federal Communications Commission, and both postponed their annual meetings until they get that decision.

By Terri Rupar  |  April 30, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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