Sat, Jan 19, 2008
...But Wouldn't Turn Down The Right Deal, Either
This may be something of a rarity in
these turbulent times: an airline apparently NOT in a hurry to
merge with another carrier. At least, that's what Continental
Airlines CEO Larry Kellner would have us believe.
In comments to USA Today this week, Kellner said the
Houston-based airline wouldn't necessarily turn down a merger offer
if the deal is right, but has no immediate plans to seek out such a
"We like our position as the industry stands today," Kellner
said. "But I suspect that as we go forward, things will change" as
a result of other airlines joining forces, or even-higher fuel
Kellner added Continental is "paying attention" to reported
merger talks between Delta Air Lines, and Northwest and United.
Interestingly, a possible Delta-United merger was floated back in
November by hedge fund organization Pardus Capital Management... in
part on the recommendation of Gordon Bethune, former Continental
CEO and now a consultant with the investment firm.
A Delta-Northwest merger could also clear the way for
Continental, in turn, to also merge with another airline. Northwest
holds a so-called "golden share" in Continental, granting the
Eagan, MN-based carrier a contractual right to block any merger
involving Continental, reports CNN Money.
Should Northwest merge with another airline, however,
Continental would be able to repurchase that share six months after
the merger transaction is completed -- for all of $100.
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