WASHINGTON — The Transportation Department on Wednesday narrowed to 12 the bidders under consideration for handling the $1.7-billion sale of Conrail, the government-owned freight railroad that is to be sold in a public stock offering next year.
The department is scheduled later this month to select four to six brokerage firms as co-managers of the Conrail sale, which could earn the companies commissions as high as $80 million.
Twenty-five investment companies had filed bids to handle the sale.
Among the 12 companies still under consideration are Morgan Stanley & Co., which led an attempt to develop a private stock offering of Conrail when efforts were under way to sell the railroad to Norfolk Southern Corp., and Goldman, Sachs & Co., which served as the Transportation Department's adviser on the Norfolk Southern proposal.
According to the Transportation Department, the other firms remaining in the competition are: Bear, Stearns & Co., Dean Witter Reynolds, E. F. Hutton, First Boston Corp., Lazard Freres Co., Merrill Lynch, Paine Webber, Prudential-Bache Securities, Salomon Bros. and Shearson Lehman Bros.