Posted at 9:30 PM on February 15, 2008
by Bob Collins
It's pretty obvious now that there's no stopping the merger of Delta and Northwest. MPR's Marty Moylan, by way of the Financial Times, says the smart money is on Wednesday, when the Board of Directors meets.
What's changed in the last day or so? Apparently the pilots have given the merger their blessing, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The unions did not work out every detail, as airline management had hoped, but they did reach a "conceptual plan of integration," said one person describing the talks. The airlines are now moving ahead with final details of their tie-up, the people familiar with the talks said.
Under the deal, the pilots will reportedly get a seat on the "new" Delta's board of directors. Pilots would also get an equity stake in the airline. The headquarters for the airline, which will be named Delta, will be in Atlanta, and the Minnesota headquarters of Northwest will be an "operations center."
Doug Steenland, the current CEO at Northwest, will have no management role with the combined company, but will have a seat on the board of directors.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Continental and American Airlines are now talking about a possible merger.
Says the Journal:
Houston-based Continental has said it prefers to remain independent unless the competitive landscape changes and its rivals pair up. The carrier for now is precluded from merging with another airline because Northwest can block such a move by virtue of holding a "golden share" in Continental. But if Northwest agrees to merge with Delta or another airline, Continental could buy back that blocking preferred stock for a nominal fee and be free to chart its own course, even if Northwest's own deal later fell apart.