United and Continental deal cleared for take off

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The U.S. Justice Department said Friday that it has closed an investigation into the proposed merger of United and Continental, paving the way for the airlines to unite later this year.

The $3.2 billion merger, which is pending a shareholder vote next month, is expected to close on October 1, 2010, the companies said in a press release. The airlines announced the all-stock deal in May.

The antitrust probe was closed after the airlines agreed to transfer takeoff and landing rights and other assets at Newark Liberty Airport to Southwest Airlines (LUV, Fortune 500), the Justice Department said in a statement.

"The completion of DOJ's review is an important step on our journey of creating the world's leading airline," said Jeff Smisek, Continental's chief executive. "The DOJ's decision permits us to clear one of the last regulatory hurdles to closing our merger."

The combined company, which will fly under the United (UAUA, Fortune 500) moniker and Continental (CAL, Fortune 500) logo, would be larger than Delta Air Lines (DAL, Fortune 500), which became the country's largest airline when it merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008. It is expected to serve more than 144 million passengers per year and fly to 370 destinations in 59 countries.

The European Commission on the airlines approved the proposed merger in July.  To top of page

Just the hot list include
Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,462.94 -201.95 -0.82%
Nasdaq 7,146.13 -91.93 -1.27%
S&P 500 2,670.14 -22.99 -0.85%
Treasuries 2.95 0.04 1.27%
Data as of 12:53pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 14.54 0.55 3.93%
Bank of America Corp... 30.26 0.08 0.27%
Apple Inc 165.72 -7.08 -4.10%
Ford Motor Co 10.82 -0.14 -1.28%
Advanced Micro Devic... 9.99 -0.12 -1.19%
Data as of Apr 20
Sponsors

Sections

The American newspaper industry says tariffs on Canadian paper could force it to cut jobs, drop pages or print fewer editions. Some are worried that smaller papers might not survive. More

US regulators are close to slapping Wells Fargo with a $1 billion fine for forcing customers into car insurance and charging mortgage borrowers unfair fees. More

The Justice Department is probing wireless carriers, and that investigation could put the eSIM card rollout on hold. More