Since American Airlines filed for bankruptcy in late November, speculation is swirling in the airline industry that there could be another big merger.
One scenario has US Airways Group Inc., combining with American. Another has Delta Air Lines Inc. acquiring American.
Also mentioned is the private-equity firm TPG Capital evaluating an offer for American and teaming up with a foreign carrier, such as British Airways P.L.C., to take a minority stake.
The latest unsubstantiated report is that Delta might go after US Airways.
It is also possible that American - which has announced it will cut up to 15,000 jobs, terminate employee pension plans, and reap $2 billion in annual cost savings - will come out of bankruptcy a credible stand-alone company, which is what American wants.
Speculation was further fueled when US Airways chief executive officer Doug Parker told analysts last week that the airline had hired advisers to study a possible bid and that although it did not need a merger, the fifth-largest U.S. carrier was "always interested" in weighing its options.
US Airways has a history of making plays for larger airlines - twice for United Airlines in 2008 and 2010, after which United tied the knot with Continental Airlines Inc., and once in 2007 for then-bankrupt Delta, which merged instead with Northwest Airlines Corp.
"I think people are basically stirring the pot at this point in time," said aviation consultant Robert W. Mann. "I don't have a view as to what's likely, or more likely, or less likely. Just that it will be many months before American presents a reorganization plan and everybody else has a chance to take a shot at it."
Source: Philly Inquirer
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