Delta, TPG among potential bidders for bankrupt American

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on January 12, 2012 at 9:44 PM

FORT WORTH - Bankruptcy has made American Airlines the target for potential bidders.

The Wall Street Journal reports competitor Delta Airlines and Fort Worth-based investment firm TPG are considering separate attempts to buy its parent company, AMR.
 
American, Delta and TPG told News 8 they do not comment on rumors or speculation, but industry analysts say it could be the start of a parade of bidders for the bankrupt airline.

AMR says it expects fly out of bankruptcy in 12 to 18 months with a more fuel efficient fleet and lower labor costs. That is why it is so attractive to Delta and TPG.

Both of those companies face huge hurdles to complete a sale.

Analysts say a Delta buy would give it more than 40 percent of the domestic market, making it nearly impossible to clear anti-trust scrutiny from the Department of Justice.

TPG would have to make a huge offer. When AMR filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it had $4 billion in cash. That allows executives to run the company during reorganization without fear of a court-ordered sale.
 
Employees aren't sure what to think of an ownership change. Unions met with American Thursday, but selling the airline was not discussed.

"The uncertainty of it all is the hardest part for workers," said Transport Workers Union President Darrin Pierce.

Analysts believe one thing is certain: American Airlines will remain intact at the end of bankruptcy, because its gates and routes have huge potential and value, no matter whose name or logo is on them.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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