David Koenig Dallas
More of the pieces seem to be falling into place and a picture is emerging of what an American Airlines-US Airways merger might look like.
Thomas Horton, the chief executive of American Airlines parent AMR, was in talks about becoming chairman if his company merged with US Airways, The Wall Street Journal reported this week, adding to indications that a deal could be close.
The newspaper, citing people familiar with the matter, said the talks were still in flux and that Horton could wind up in some other role such as vice-chairman if there was a merger. US Airways has proposed that its chairman and chief executive, Doug Parker, run the combined company. AMR and US Airways declined to comment.
The airlines and AMR creditors are in advanced talks over a merger, but a deal is not a sure thing. The final sticking points are how much of the combined company would belong to AMR creditors and how much to US Airways shareholders, and which management team would lead it, according to people familiar with the talks.
On Tuesday two people familiar with the discussions said that a group of major bondholders had decided to support a merger rather than a rival plan for AMR to emerge from bankruptcy protection on its own. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the airlines are negotiating under a confidentiality agreement. The chief lawyer for the bondholders was not available for comment.
The bondholders, who include investors such as JPMorgan Chase, signalled last November that they wanted a new AMR board even if American Airlines remained independent, and that the new board should be free to pick the final management team. In the past few days the bondholder group indicated that it would not remain bound by a confidentiality agreement past February 15 and wanted a swift decision on a merger, increasing the sense of urgency around the negotiations.
US Airways has been pushing for a merger since shortly after AMR filed for Chapter 11 protection in November 2011, but Horton resisted. He wanted to restructure his company and exit from bankruptcy before considering a merger. – Sapa-AP