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News > Deals
American mulls merger
October 26, 2000: 6:33 p.m. ET

American Airlines parent talking to carriers about possible combo
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - In anticipation of industry consolidation stemming from UAL Corp.'s acquisition of US Airways Group Inc., the parent company of American Airlines has talked to other carriers about a possible merger.

AMR Corp. said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday it has discussed possible combinations with unnamed airlines, but has not come to any definitive agreement.

"The company is considering its strategic response to the possibility of industry consolidation, and from time to time is engaged in discussions with other carriers regarding potential significant business combinations and acquisitions of assets," AMR said.

The company also said any combination resulting from industry consolidation would significantly alter the company's financial condition and prospects.

Further consolidation and fewer choices for consumers is one of the major concerns of Federal legislators with United Airlines parent UAL's (UAL: Research, Estimates) proposed acquisition of US Airways (U: Research, Estimates).

The announcement of the United/US Airways deal spurred a spate of airline discussions in June, with American reportedly speaking to both Northwest and Delta (DAL: Research, Estimates).

Glenn Engel, airline analyst with Goldman Sachs, said American will wait to see what happens to the United/US Airways merger before making any moves itself.

"If the deal goes through but U.S. Airways is split up into pieces which United has to divest, then American doesn't have to go out and buy a big carrier," Engel said. "But if United gets US Airways as a whole, then American has to go for something bigger."

He said the only airlines in that size category are Northwest (NOR: Research, Estimates), US Airways and Continental (CAL: Research, Estimates).

Many analysts discounted American's reported talks with Delta because the sheer size of the deal would make it very awkward. American is the No. 2 carrier in the country and Delta is No. 3.

A combined American/Delta company would control 40 percent of the U.S. market.

AMR reported earnings of $322 million or $1.96 a diluted share Thursday, excluding a charge for the repurchase of debt. Analysts surveyed by earnings tracker First Call forecast that profit would rise to $1.78 a share from the $213 million, or $1.38 a share, it earned from continuing operations a year earlier.

Shares of AMR (AMR: Research, Estimates) rose 62 cents to $29.69 in late trading. graphic

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