AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines, Inc., and US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE: LCC) today announced that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will combine to create a premier global carrier, which will have an implied combined equity value of approximately $11 billion based on the price of US Airways’ stock as of February 13, 2013.
Operating under the American Airlines name, one of the most recognized brands in the world, the combined airline will have a robust global network and a strong financial foundation. The merger will offer benefits to both airlines’ customers, communities, employees, investors, and creditors. Customers will have access to more choices and increased service across the combined company’s larger worldwide network and through an enhanced oneworld® Alliance, of which American Airlines is a founding member. With firm orders for more than 600 new mainline aircraft, the combined airline will have one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the industry, and a solid foundation for continued investment in technology, products, and services.
Thomas Horton, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines, will serve as Chairman of the combined airline’s Board of Directors through its first annual meeting of shareholders, and will also serve as the combined airline’s representative to the oneworld Alliance, of which he is currently chairman, and International Air Transport Association for the same duration. Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of US Airways, will serve as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Parker will assume the additional position of Chairman of the Board following the conclusion of Mr. Horton’s service. The Board of Directors will initially be made up of twelve members. The Board will be comprised of three American Airlines representatives, including Tom Horton, four US Airways representatives, including Doug Parker, and five AMR creditor representatives.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, US Airways stockholders will receive one share of common stock of the combined airline for each share of US Airways common stock then held. The aggregate number of shares of common stock of the combined airline issuable to holders of US Airways equity instruments (including stockholders, holders of convertible notes, optionees and holders of restricted stock units) will represent 28% of the diluted equity of the combined airline. The remaining 72% diluted equity ownership of the combined airline will be issuable to stakeholders of AMR and its debtor subsidiaries that filed for relief under Chapter 11 (the “Debtors”), American’s labor unions, and current AMR employees.
The merger is to be effected pursuant to a plan of reorganization (the “Plan”) for the Debtors in their currently pending cases under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The Plan is subject to confirmation and consummation in accordance with the requirements of the Bankruptcy Code.
In connection with the merger agreement, AMR has entered into a support agreement with certain unsecured creditors holding approximately $1.2 billion of prepetition unsecured claims against the Debtors. Pursuant to the support agreement, the creditors party thereto have agreed, subject to certain conditions, to support a plan of reorganization implementing the merger and incorporating a compromise and settlement of certain intercreditor and intercompany claims issues. Provisions of the support agreement relating to the treatment of prepetition unsecured claims against the Debtors and the treatment of existing equity interests in AMR are summarized further below.
The combined airline will offer more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries. The combined airline is expected to maintain all hubs currently served by American Airlines and US Airways, resulting in more travel options for customers. Both airlines expect that the regional carriers they own – AMR Corporation’s American Eagle and US Airways’ Piedmont and PSA – will continue to operate as distinct entities, providing seamless service to the combined airline. The company will be headquartered in Dallas-Fort Worth and will maintain a significant corporate and operational presence in Phoenix.
“Today, we are proud to launch the new American Airlines – a premier global carrier well equipped to compete and win against the best in the world,” said Tom Horton, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines. “Together, we will be even better positioned to deliver for all of our stakeholders, including our customers, people, investors, partners, and the many communities we serve.
“The combination of American and US Airways brings together two highly complementary networks with access to the best destinations around the globe and gives us a strong platform to provide our customers the most connected, comfortable travel experience available. The operational and financial strength of the combined airline is expected to enable continued investment in new products and technologies and will create exciting new opportunities for our people, even as we deliver strong cash flow and sustainable profitability.
“Over the past year, the American team stood tall as we established a rock solid foundation for long-term success through an efficient and effective restructuring. As part of this process, after months of exhaustive analysis and a thorough review of all alternatives, we concluded that this merger is the best outcome for our company, delivering not only the greatest value for our financial stakeholders, but also positioning us well for sustainable success over the long term.
“This merger provides enhanced potential for full recovery for our creditors. In addition, I am pleased that we were able to obtain the support of a sizable portion of our unsecured creditors for a plan that provides a recovery of at least a 3.5% aggregate ownership stake in the combined airline for our shareholders. It is unusual in Chapter 11 cases – and unprecedented in recent airline restructurings – for shareholders to receive meaningful recoveries. I look forward to working closely with Doug Parker, whom I have known as a friend for more than 25 years, and with the leadership teams of both companies to assure a smooth integration and the creation of a new industry leader."
Doug Parker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of US Airways, said, “Today marks an exciting new chapter for American Airlines and US Airways. American Airlines is one of the world’s most iconic brands. The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace. Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to travel, when they want to go."
Parker continued, “Today’s announcement is possible only because of the important work carried out over the past year by Tom Horton and the American team. No one cares more about the long-term success of American Airlines and its people than Tom. Through a successful restructuring and this merger, Tom and the American team have established an excellent foundation for the new American Airlines to become a premier global airline. I am grateful for all that Tom has done to ensure that American is in the best position possible for future success and am delighted he has agreed to remain on board to assist with the transition.
“I am particularly pleased for the employees of both US Airways and American. This merger will create a stronger company, with the path to improved compensation and benefits and greater long-term opportunities for all our employees. We are grateful to have the support of both companies’ unions and thank them and their leaders for their hard work and vision. We look forward to a bright future for our employees and enhanced service and choice for our customers. With today’s announcement, we start becoming one team and one new airline.”
The combined airline is expected to:
Provide the most service across the East Coast and Central regions of the U.S., including the East Coast shuttle, enhancing the combined carrier’s competitive position
Expand its presence and further strengthen the network in the Western U.S.
Bolster American’s industry-leading position in Latin America and the Caribbean
Enhance connectivity within the oneworld Alliance – including joint businesses with British Airways and Iberia across the Atlantic and with Japan Airlines and Qantas across the Pacific – creating more options for travel and benefits both domestically and internationally
Serve 21 destinations in Europe and the Middle East
Maintain current hubs of both American Airlines and US Airways, resulting in more choices for customers
Improve traffic flows through the existing hubs of both carriers
Expand service from those hubs to offer increased service to existing markets and service to new cities
Provide an industry-leading travel experience through innovative initiatives intended to increase comfort and connectivity for all customers
Improve valuable loyalty program benefits through expanded opportunities to earn and redeem miles across the combined network