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US airlines Delta and Northwest agree to merge

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Delta airplanes at Boston's Logan International Airport

Rival United States airlines Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines announced today that they have agreed to merge. The new airline, which will use the Delta name, will be the largest commercial airline in the world.

Technically, Delta will be buying Northwest in a roughly US$3 billion deal. Northwest shareholders will receive 1.25 shares of Delta for each share of Northwest. Based on Monday's closing prices on the New York Stock Exhange this represents a 17% premium for Northwest shareholders.

Richard Anderson, the Delta chief executive officer who will also head the new company, said: "We said we would only enter into a consolidation transaction if it was right for all of our constituencies; Delta and Northwest are a perfect fit. Today, we’re announcing a transaction that is about addition, not subtraction, and combines end-to-end networks that open a world of opportunities for our customers and employees. We believe by partnering with our employees, including providing equity to U.S.-based employees of Delta and Northwest, this combination is off to the right start."

The combined company would have $35 billion in annual revenue and approximately 75,000 employees. The deal does have to receive regulatory approval. "We will look at the competitive effects of the transaction and how it would affect consumers," said Gina Talanoma, a spokesperson for the United States Department of Justice.

Airline industry consultant Robert Mann told Reuters, "It's a very optimistic view on an industry that's been very dismal for the last couple of weeks."


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