Continental, United Airlines Sign Merger Agreement
The all-stock merger of equals brings together two of the airlines, creating a combined company well positioned to succeed in an increasingly competitive global and domestic aviation industry.
Glenn Tilton, chairman, president and CEO of UAL Corporation will serve as non-executive chairman of the combined company's board of directors through December 31. Jeff Smisek, Continental's chairman, president and CEO will be CEO and a member of the board of directors. He will also become executive chairman of the Board upon Tilton's ceasing to be non-executive chairman.
The combined company's management team is expected to include an equitable and balanced selection of executives from each company with the intention that each company will contribute roughly equal numbers.
Rhe holding company for the new entity will be named United Continental Holdings and the name of the airline will be United Airlines. The marketing brand will be a combination of the brands of both companies.
Aircraft will have the Continental livery, logo and colors with the United name. The new company's corporate and operational headquarters will be in Chicago and it will maintain a significant presence in Houston, which will be the combined company's largest hub. Additionally, the CEO will maintain offices in both Chicago and Houston.
The combined company will offer enhanced service to Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East from well-placed hubs on the East Coast, West Coast, and Southern and Midwestern regions of the US.
The combined company will have 10 hubs, including hubs in the four largest cities in the US, and will provide enhanced service to under-served small- and medium-sized communities. The combined carrier will continue to serve all the communities each carrier currently serves.
The merger is expected to deliver $1 billion to $1.2 billion in net annual synergies by 2013, including between $800m and $900m of incremental annual revenues, in large part from expanded customer options resulting from the greater scope and scale of the network, and additional international service enabled by the broader network of the combined carrier.
The combined airline will have the fuel-efficient fleet (adjusted for cabin mix) and the new aircraft order book among major US network carriers. It will have the financial strength to enhance customers' travel experience by enabling it to invest in globally competitive products, upgrade technology, refurbish and replace older aircraft, and implement the best-in-class practices of both airlines.
The merger, which has been approved unanimously by the boards of directors of both companies, is conditioned on approval by the shareholders of both companies, receipt of regulatory clearance, and customary closing conditions. The companies expect to complete the transaction in the fourth quarter of 2010.
During the period between signing and closing of the merger, the CEOs of both companies will lead a transition team, which will develop a specific integration plan.
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