AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines, is considering what its CEO calls the “attractive option” of a merger with smaller competitor US Airways Group Inc. (NYSE: LCC) as the company prepares to exit bankruptcy by the end of this year. A decision could come in “a matter of weeks,” according to a report in the Financial Times.
US Airways has been a vocal suitor for American, and both United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) and Delta Air Lines Co. (NYSE: DAL) have been mentioned as possible acquirers. A tie-up with United or Delta is a long-shot due to an expected lack of enthusiasm from regulators for a deal that would further enlarge one of the two largest airlines in the United States with the country’s third-largest carrier.
AMR’s CEO told the paper:
It [the merger with US Airways] may be an attractive option under the right circumstances. Our view [earlier this year] was not that that combination was unwise. It was that that was not the right time to discuss it.
Now may be the right time for such discussions, considering that American must have a plan in place by the end of December.
Shares of US Airways are up about 1.8% in the premarket this morning at $10.25, in a 52-week range of $3.96 to $14.51.