Now that the U.S. Department of Justice has approved the proposed merger between U.S. Airways Group Inc. (LCC) and AMR Corp. (AAMRQ), the two companies got down to the serious business of choosing a new name and an exchange on which to list stock in the new company.
The two firms said Friday morning that the merged company will be renamed American Airlines Group Inc. and will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL. Existing stock in the two companies will be cancelled and new shares issued according to the terms of the merger agreement. The two companies expect to complete the merger in December, pending approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and meeting certain other conditions.
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Will this merger be any smoother than the ones that formed Delta Air Lines Co. (DAL) after it merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008 or the merger between United and Continental that created United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) in 2010? Not likely. After two years, United and Continental only recently managed to get the reservations systems united, and merger costs have been much higher than expected. The Delta-Northwest deal was equally bumpy.
The company that will displace United Continental as the world's biggest airline will be just as hard to stitch together. When the American Airlines Group is a reality, we should expect at least a couple of years of turbulence before the company finds smoother air.