The United Airlines/Continental Airlines merger: a short or long document review?


3 May 2010 — United Air Lines and Continental Airlines announced their merger today. It will create the world’s largest airline by traffic. Delta Air Lines would be unseated as the world’s largest airline.

And depending on who you listen to the deal will have little trouble securing approval from the DOJ — or take forever.

For those of us who worked on the first attempt by United/Continental to tie up two years ago one thing remains the same: the two airlines have relatively little overlapping routes/infrastructure; the deal will combine complementary networks rather than strip out costs. Continental is strong in South America and across the Atlantic, while United brings the west coast and routes into Asia. So that’s a big point in their favor for DOJ clearance (Continental walked away two years ago because of United’s poor financial health).

Scanning the numerous blog posts and media analysis over the weekend, most antitrust lawyers (many former DOJ antitrust lawyers) fell into 2 camps...

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