Mon, Jan 29, 2007
WSJ Report Says Yes...
A report in the Wall Street Journal
says US Airways' parent US Air Group hinted over the weekend it
would increase its takeover bid of Delta Airlines to the tune of
another $1 billion and add a clause to pay Delta's creditors should
the deal fail regulatory review.
If the rumors prove true, a second offer in as many weeks would
seem to indicate a US Airways pushing hard to win support from
Delta's unsecured creditors, and perhaps an airline feeling the
heat from last week's Senate hearings on airline consolidation. The
east-coast carrier raised its initial November bid to just over $10
billion in US Airways stock and cash earlier this month, but a drop
in US Airways' stock value has reduced the total value of that
offer by around $500 million.
The latest rumored bid hike would push the cash portion of US
Airways' offer to around $6 billion. The stock portion remains at
89.5 million shares, which is worth just under $5 billion based on
Friday's close. US Airways has purportedly offered to add
a termination fee it would pay to Delta's creditors should
they agree to the merger only to have it quashed by the Justice
As ANN reported, a Senate
Commerce Committee hearing last week wasn't exactly encouraging for
the merger's proponents. Committee members blasted US Airways' CEO
Doug Parker suggesting less competition would mean poor service,
higher fares and fewer choices for customers. At least one senator
worried a US Airways-Delta merger would spark a spate of further
mergers. Several hinted the answer is to return to the days of
government regulation of the airline industry.
Parker argued consolidation has helped some smaller markets and
will help cash-strapped airlines to expand service to poorly served
areas of the nation.
Some industry analysts have speculated a US Airways-Delta merger
will not pass regulatory scrutiny as the pair compete in too many
markets on the US east coast.
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