A number of other airlines are reported to be interested
AMR, the bankrupt parent company of American Airlines, has the right to submit a reorganisation plan for up to 18 months. But a number of airlines are reported to be preparing for a bidding war to eventually buy the world’s fourth biggest airline. Currently studying the possibility are US Airways, Delta Air Lines and the private equity firm TPG Capital. British Airways wants to protect its oneworld partnership with American Airlines and has suggested buying a minority stake. Over the long term, it is also possible that a newly restructured AMR could accept deals from JetBlue Airways – with its strong presence at New York’s JFK – or Alaska Air.
It is likely, however, that AMR will have the final say once it emerges from bankruptcy. Tom Horton, the company’s CEO, remains sceptical about potential buyers, warning that “opportunists” may attempt to force a merger as AMR is in the process of restructuring, slashing costs and liabilities. AMR’s management would much prefer a partner feeding part of the capital it needs and later keeping a stake in the airline. That makes the TPG or BA options more realistic.
One anonymous insider says: “Tom Horton is a man of conviction and he likes things to be done his way. […] American may well merge with somebody, but American is going to do it on their terms.”
[photo courtesy oneworld]