Continental Airlines is attracting even more attention. On Sept. 16, Germany's Lufthansa and Los Angeles investor Marvin Davis jointly submitted a $400 million bid for the carrier. It's the fourth offer for Continental, and it exactly matches what had been the front-running proposal: one from Air Canada and Texas investors Air Partners.

Like British Airways and KLM, Lufthansa wants a U.S. carrier to feed passengers into its transatlantic routes. And Davis, who would own 51% of the airline, believes a strong international partner is just what Continental needs. The two bidders say they'll make a more formal offer after looking at Continental's books.

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