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Pasta Maker Drops Bid to Acquire Air Vegas

June 22, 1994

IRVINE — Small pasta maker Nona Morelli's II Inc., in search of greater diversification, said Tuesday that it has called off its planned $1.3-million purchase of a majority stake in privately owned Air Vegas Enterprises Inc.

Morelli's chairman, Fred G. Luke, said that after eight months of negotiations, a "fairly straightforward transaction" had become "incredibly complex" and that he and Air Vegas President James Petty had reached an impasse. He said the two often were too busy with their own companies to talk with each other about the deal.

Morelli, which went public in 1989 as a deli-fresh pasta and sauce maker, had offered to buy 53% of Air Vegas with the intent of building it into a low-cost regional carrier.

Now, Luke said, Morelli is looking at other acquisitions in the airline industry. He declined to identify the companies with which Morelli is negotiating.

Morelli, with annual revenue expected to exceed $3 million by June 30, the end of its fiscal year, also has ownership stakes in two gambling casinos under construction in Tunisia.

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