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Delta execs tightlipped on merger talks

Delta Air Lines Inc. officials were mum Friday on the outcome of a board meeting at which executives could get the green light to enter formal talks with two competitors about a combination.

Asked if the meeting in New York had been completed, board member Walter Massey responded, “I can’t talk about that.”

A Delta spokeswoman also declined to comment.

According to two people familiar with the situation, Delta’s board was expected to be asked to allow formal talks between Delta and Northwest Airlines Corp. and UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, with the idea that Delta would ultimately choose to combine with one of the two.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

Best Buy Co. Inc. said on Friday its comparable-store sales rose 1.5 percent in December on strong sales of video games and notebook computers.

The results were not as good as last year but far better than its rival Circuit City Stores Inc. Best Buy left its profit guidance unchanged.

Its shares fell $2.37, or 5.1 percent, to $44.20 on Friday. They’ve traded between $41.85 and $53.90 over the past year.

Like other retailers, Best Buy’s December was hurt by a calendar shift that put an extra week of post-Thanksgiving shopping in November. Adjusting for that shift, Best Buy said sales at stores open at least 14 months would have risen 3 percent in December.

On Monday, struggling Circuit City said same-store sales fell 11.4 percent in December.

Robert Iger, chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., received a compensation package in fiscal 2007 valued by the company at $27.7 million, according to an analysis of documents filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Iger, who also holds the title of president, received a salary of $2 million, non-equity incentive plan compensation of $13.7 million, and other compensation of $745,177, the Burbank, Calif.-based company said.

He also received compensation from stock and option awards that had an estimated value of about $11.2 million when granted.

The executive’s other compensation included $65,284 for air travel, $660,168 for security and another $14,400 in reimbursements for such things as health club membership, annual physical exams and other expenses.

Iger’s employment agreement runs through 2010 and calls for him to be paid an annual salary of at least $2 million.