Wednesday, May 26, 2010
United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton has said that he is "very optimistic" that the pending Continental/United merger will receive clearance from the Justice Department before the close of 2010. See John Crawley, UAL CEO Optimistic Can Address CAL Merger Concerns, Reuters, May 25, 2010 (available here). From the story:
Tilton said the companies have already had "initial conversations" with Justice Department staff and he expects a "full and robust review" of the transaction.
Antitrust officials focus on how the proposal would impact competition, if at all. Antitrust experts, analysts and industry consultants see few if any regulatory problems and widely anticipate government approval. However, they say United and Continental may be required to divest some assets at one or more airports, possibly in the New York area where Continental is strong at Newark, to enhance competition.
Tilton would not discuss specific antitrust matters. He and Continental CEO Jeff Smisek are scheduled to appear before U.S. Senate lawmakers at two hearings on Thursday to answer questions about the merger.
Tilton and Smisek's appearance will be part of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation's "The Financial State of the Airline Industry and the Implications of Consolidation in the Industry" hearings. See here for further information.