Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday news roundup: Merger coming soon (probably)

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, maybe next week: Rumored merger dates for American Airlines and US Airways are flying around in the media echo chamber. But enough details of the proposed deal have leaked to make it appear a certainty at this point, and most reports are saying it's likely to be announced this week.

After reports last week that the boards of directors of both companies would meet Monday to take a final vote on a merger, Reuters came out Sunday with a news story that both companies had delayed their meetings until mid-week. An announcement is likely in the later part of the week, anonymous sources say.

The New York Times said the boards are meeting sometime this week, and a deal "could be struck this week or possibly next week."

Bloomberg agrees that "any announcement would come no earlier than midweek. And Terry Maxon of the Dallas Morning News reports that there could be an announcement later this week.

As Maxon wrote: "Again, this all assumes the boards of AMR and US Airways Group approve a deal. And until there’s a deal, there’s no deal."

But The Wall Street Journal has already leaped ahead and reported that antitrust regulators are likely to approve the deal.  The Journal is also reporting a deal is likely to come following a Wednesday board meeting. The federal government is trying to block other mergers for competitive reasons, such as the marriage of brewers InBev and Grupo Modelo.

US Airways and American have little direct overlap, and every other mega-merger in the aviation industry has been approved this decade, so a deal probably won't face a legal challenge. Antitrust approval would likely take several months.