Cirrus Launches Bid For Columbia

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Cirrus Design filed a motion on Thursday to try to buy bankrupt Columbia Aircraft. The company is also alleging that the bidding process gives arch-rival Cessna the inside track, according to The Associated Press. Cirrus representatives appeared to welcome Cessna's proposed acquisition of Columbia two weeks ago. After Columbia declared bankruptcy, Cessna said it had a letter of intent to buy some of the assets and liabilities of the Bend, Ore., planemaker. Cirrus was unable to provide a comment before our publication deadline. The addition of Cirrus to the mix makes at least four companies interested in Columbia.

Versa Capital Management Inc. and Park Electrochemical Corp. are also in the fray and each has filed motions saying Cessna is getting preferential treatment in the process. "The playing field is not level," TradingMarkets.com quoted Versa's filing as saying. "It is tilted in favor of Cessna." Versa and Park have listed about a dozen points that they claim give Cessna the edge. The bidding will be done Nov. 21. Columbia is quoted as saying in its filings that it wants the process wrapped up as quickly as possible because it's losing about $1 million a week.