Potential suitors circle American Airlines: sources

Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:33pm EST
 
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By Greg Roumeliotis and Kyle Peterson

(Reuters) - US Airways Group LCC.N, Delta Airlines (DAL.N: Quote) and private equity firm TPG Capital TPG.UL are among several parties interested in potential bids for AMR Corp AAMRQ.PK, the bankrupt parent of American Airlines, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

These parties have been following AMR's bankruptcy proceedings closely to evaluate prospects for a merger or tie-up with American Airlines, the sources said.

The sources and airline experts, however, cautioned that any deal is unlikely to materialize before AMR is close to completing its court restructuring, which could take a year or longer.

"At this point I wouldn't take it a bit serious. But if AMR does the restructuring correctly, I think it's going to be a very attractive target," said Ray Neidl, aerospace analyst with Maxim Group.

Delta hired Blackstone as its financial adviser to assess a bid for American Airlines, one of the sources said.

REGULATORY HURDLES

Delta has conducted an antitrust analysis on a possible tie-up with AMR and concluded that with some concessions, such a deal has a good chance of gaining approval from regulators, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported Delta's interest in AMR.

Morningstar airline analyst Basili Alukos said a Delta-AMR deal would require huge concessions of gates and routes to make a merger palatable to regulators.   Continued...

 
<p>A worker walks underneath an American Airlines airplane at Miami International airport in Miami, November 29, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>