Monthly Archives: August 2007

Speaking of the Boys and Girls in Atlanta

Welcome

A shout-out to the folks at Delta Air Lines, who unrolled their own blog today.

Called “Under the Wing,” the blog proposes to “take you under the wing and behind the scenes sharing stories on ideas, changes, our people, and their working lives.”

Intelligent, fine, forward-thinking people over there at Delta. They’ve already added PlaneBuzz to their blog roll.  ;-)

We’re flattered.

Welcome to the neighborhood folks.

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Frank Boroch Beats Me To It; Delta Northwest Hook-Up Looks Like a Slam-Dunk At Some Point

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Okay, I know. I’m supposed to be in my “beach mentality” mode this week.

But after reading a research note from Frank Boroch at Bear Stearns this morning, I felt compelled to come in and talk about the potential impact that Richard Anderson’s appointment at Delta Air Lines may have.

It’s really pretty simple to figure out.

It’s a play on the old adage, “Follow the relationships.” Oh, and yes, the money usually follows.

With Richard Anderson, ex-Northwest CEO now at the helm at Delta, I think it will only be a matter of time before we see Delta and Northwest hook up. More than a little ironic, considering that Anderson was on the Delta board when the “Keep Delta My Delta” refrain was echoing through the halls as US Airways made its play on the airline.

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As one reader wrote to us yesterday, he sees a situation on the horizon that will be set up more like an Air France/KLM deal — with a holding company astride the two existing companies. Would make sense, and would certainly make Doug Parker and Company out in Tempe look like the poster children for what other airlines do not want to duplicate — in terms of union issues, employee integration and other various geographical and cultural turf wars.

Frank pointed out in his note that the merger could create $5 billion in value.

Yep. I am now officially taking bets that it won’t be long before “Keep Delta My Delta” former board member now CEO Richard Anderson will be singing a very different tune.

Ticker: (NYSE:DAL), (NYSE:NWA), (NYSE:LCC)

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Vacation

On Vacation Pink

Just a note for those of you who are not PlaneBusiness Banter subscribers. (If you are a subscriber, you know this already!)

Yours truly, and the rest of the crack team at the Worldwide Headquarters are officially on vacation until after Labor Day.

Now you and I both know that doesn’t mean I’m not going to post anything in here for the next two weeks. Just don’t look for the usual level of activity!

We Called It Months Ago: Richard Anderson Named Delta CEO

Anderson

Okay — I’m not sure if I mentioned this here in the blog or it was in PlaneBusiness Banter, but months ago as the Delta CEO derby cranked up — I said that my money was on Richard Anderson. (Anderson is, and has been a member of the Delta Board of Directors.)

I get a really gold star. Because this was months and months ago.

The news is scheduled to be announced after the end of the today’s trading.

Ed Bastian, current CFO, moves up to President — and Jim Whitehurst is out the door.

Anyone taking bets that Whitehurst shows up at Virgin America?

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TPG Comes Clean

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In this week’s PBB, I wrote that I saw TPG’s deal for Midwest strictly as a defensive play on behalf of Northwest Airlines. This deal doesn’t signify a “trend” in regional consolidation. It didn’t even seem, on paper, to be that “cheap” of a deal — a requirement I once heard TPG partner Richard Schifter say was a necessary requirement of any potential TPG deal.

While it was clear this was the case — I was surprised to hear Schifter admit as much in this morning’s call on the deal.

Then again, that’s Ric. He’s not one to beat around the bush.

Schifter said this morning that the firm may eventually want to cash out of the $450 million deal and Northwest could acquire Midwest outright. But Schifter cautioned that could be several years out.

You can bet there is a side deal to this deal that protects whatever TPG has in the deal — and it’s got Northwest’s name written all over it.

TPG has nothing on the line here. They’ll be in the deal until Northwest pays them to get out, or a merger deal involving Northwest accomplishes the same thing.

Tickers: (NYSE:NWA), (NYSE:MEH)

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Dallas CEO Names Arpey CEO of the Year

Look, I am posting this, in the middle of the night in self-defense — so that no more of you will feel the need to send me an email about it. <g>

There is news from Trebor Banstetter’s blog over at the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, and from about ten thousand emails I’ve received in the last 5 hours.

Well maybe not that many, but they’re mounting up.

Arpey

Trebor informs us that “the September issue of DallasCEO magazine, which is published by the good folks at D Magazine, touts AA chief executive Gerard Arpey as ‘Dallas CEO of the year.’ The cover blurb proclaims that “In just four years, Gerard Arpey steered American Airlines from the brink of bankruptcy back to blue skies, helping its stock soar more than 1,500 percent.”

The magazine is going out to subscribers and newsstands today. No doubt the folks at American will be thrilled, while plenty of people on the airline’s labor side will be enraged.

I don’t envy the poor soul who edits the magazine’s letters to the editor.”

Amen to that. I think it might be time for an organized visit to the magazine’s offices. By a lot of people.

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Midwest Airlines Webcast Friday

Telephone

For those with inquiring minds, Midwest Airlines is holding a webcast tomorrow to go into more detail about the deal with TPG.

Company management will provide the update in a conference call with industry analysts and institutional investors at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. All of us will be able to listen in to the call. (I would provide a link, but the link provide in the press release tonight is not working for us. Just check with the Midwest website.)

P.S. Attempts to reach Chip the Cookie for comment tonight have gone for naught.

Midwest Board Goes with TPG Deal

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From the press release that just hit the wires:

“Midwest Air Group (AMEX: MEH),parent  company  of  Midwest Airlines, today announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of TPG Capital, L.P.  in  a  transaction  valued  at approximately $450 million. The merger agreement  was  unanimously  approved  by  the  Midwest  Air Group Board of Directors.

Under  the  terms  of  the  agreement,  each outstanding share of Midwest’s common  stock  will be converted into the right to receive $17.00 per share in  cash.  On  December  12,  2006,  the last trading day before the public announcement  of AirTran’s indication of interest in acquiring Midwest, the per  share  price  of  Midwest’s  common  stock  was  $9.08.  Midwest  has approximately  26.6 million shares outstanding, including shares subject to options, restricted share awards and outstanding warrants.”

$17 a share. Who would have thunk it?

More follow-up tomorrow. Meanwhile, we’ve got to do a bit of editing.