[Donald Trump] and his bankers aren't the only people to have gotten stuck by swooning shuttle prices. Take bankrupt Pan Am Corp., which used to own the Pan Am Shuttle, now the Delta Shuttle. A year ago, when Pan Am put its shuttle on the market, analysts thought it would fetch something above $200 million. The price Delta Air Lines paid: a mere $113 million, part of Delta's purchase of most of Pan Am's assets. Delta would have paid even less had it not been for TWA's Carl Icahn, who forced Delta into a bidding war.
This isn't quite what people had in mind in November of 1988, when Trump took over the shuttle by outbidding one of the airline industry's shrewdies, Frank Lorenzo. Lorenzo - remember him? - tried to have his Texas Air Corp. buy the shuttle from Eastern, then a Texas Air subsidiary, for $225 million. That was widely regarded as a low-ball offer. For reasons too complex to go into, Lorenzo's $225 million was the equivalent of about $240 million from Trump. Which means that Trump topped Lorenzo's bid by an astounding 50 percent.
Why did Trump pay such a high price? "Lorenzo skinned him," says [Daniel Kasper], who testified on behalf of Eastern in support of the sale to Trump. Trump, who hasn't talked to me for years, has been telling other reporters that the shuttle business has turned around and its value has gone up sharply. I wouldn't bet on it.
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