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From Antitrust Law Daily, December 9, 2013

American Airlines, US Airways complete merger after Supreme Court denies stay

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

A last-minute attempt over the weekend to get the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the merger of US Airways Group, Inc. and AMR Corporation, parent company of American Airlines, failed. Thus, with the blessing of the federal bankruptcy court in New York City and a pending settlement resolving federal and state antitrust concerns, the airlines today announced the completion of their merger to officially form American Airlines Group Inc.

“We are taking the best of both US Airways and American Airlines to create a formidable competitor, better positioned to deliver for all of our stakeholders,” said Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines in a statement today. “We look forward to integrating our companies quickly and efficiently so the significant benefits of the merger can be realized.”

On December 7, an application was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a stay. The application for a stay followed a November 27 decision of the federal bankruptcy court in New York City, granting approval under the federal bankruptcy rules of the proposed consent decree resolving the federal and state claims. The bankruptcy court also denied a request by private plaintiffs for a temporary restraining order to block the deal. On the same day the stay application was filed, Justice Samuel Ginsburg denied the request (Fjord v. AMR Corp., No. 13A579).

The legal wrangling is not yet over. The putative class action is pending, and the federal/state antitrust consent decree remains subject to public comment until early next year. At the close of the public comment period, the federal district court in Washington, D.C. will consider whether the proposed consent decree is in the public interest and whether to give its final approval.

Under the terms of the proposed final judgment, the airlines must divest slots and gates at Boston Logan International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas Love Field, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York LaGuardia International Airport, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The Justice Department intends these divestitures to provide greater opportunity for low-cost carriers to compete with the combined entity and the other two remaining legacy carriers, Delta Airlines and United Airlines; to permit entry or expansion of airlines at key airports; and to eliminate a substantial increase in slot concentration at Reagan National (U.S. v. US Airways Group Inc., Case 1:13-cv-01236).

Attorneys: Gil Douglas Messina for Carolyn Fjord. John M. Majoras (Jones Day) for AMR Corp.

Companies: American Airlines Group Inc.; AMR Corp.; US Airways Group, Inc.

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