Britain and France have the power to veto the deal, which must also be approved by the United States and overcome political objections in Germany.
UNIONS ON STAND-BY
Core EADS shareholders Lagardere, the French media firm, and German car firm Daimler also have the right to veto a deal. Both have expressed unease about the terms but are not participating in board discussions to prevent a conflict of interest, according to a person familiar with the talks.
EADS has put its unions on stand-by for briefings on a possible deal in either one week or two weeks, union officials said, suggesting the companies would seek a far shorter extension that the maximum allowed 28 days. A scheduled European works council went ahead on Tuesday with no managers present.
British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said he hoped to meet his French, German and U.S. counterparts to discuss the proposed merger on the sidelines of a NATO meeting.
“We always knew that there was a crunch point this Wednesday and the company has to decide today whether it’s going to ask the stock exchange for an extension of time or not,” Hammond told reporters in Brussels.
(Additional reporting by Gernot Heller, Mathias Blamont, Sophie Sassard, Paul Sandle, Chris Vellacott, Arno Schuetze, Elizabeth Pineau, editing by Peter Millership)