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Odds of American Airlines, US Airways merging is 50-50, analyst says

September 17, 2013|By Hugo Martin
  • US Airways, with the backing of three American Airlines unions, is eager for a merger with the bankrupt airline.
US Airways, with the backing of three American Airlines unions, is eager… (Joshua Lott / Getty Images )

A proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways that has been challenged by the U.S. Department of Justice has a 50 percent chance of succeeding.

That was the analysis of JPMorgan of the proposal that, if successful, would create the nation's largest airline.

"The industry dialogue has crescendoed, with airlines, pundits, bloggers, former CEOs, etc, all extolling the folly of DOJ’s suit and certainty of an airline win (we frequently hear 75% probability). But when it comes to antitrust experts, we have yet to find any that believe the airlines face anything but a steep, uphill battle, with most citing probabilities below 40%," wrote JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker in a report Tuesday.

"We agree with the former, but we simply cannot ignore the latter, so let's call it 50/50," Baker wrote.

AMR Corp., the parent company of American, had hoped to emerge from bankruptcy this fall with a plan to unite the carrier with the smaller but more profitable US Airways.

But the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to stop the proposed merger in August, saying it would reduce competition, eliminate service to smaller cities and lead to higher fares.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has scheduled the case to go to trial beginning Nov. 25.

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