United Airlines ready to wage war for USAir

JOHN SHEPHERD

United Airlines will hold a board meeting on Monday to consider whether to start a multi-billion dollar bidding war with American Airlines for control of USAir, the financially strapped airline. British Airways holds a key 25 per cent stake, worth more than pounds 400m ($631m) in USAir.

Senior pilots of United Airlines have been briefed about the company's takeover plans at a closed-door meeting at a hotel near Chicago's O'Hare Airport. The meeting was led by Gerald Greenwald, chief executive of United, and attended by other top executives and 30 pilots.

Union officials and others at the meeting were required to sign confidentiality agreements. Sources close to the situation said that the pilots did not vote on the potential transaction at the two-hour meeting.

The pilots did, however, raise several concerns about seniority and the blending of corporate cultures, which could lead to redundancies if an acquisition occurred.

The board of United is also understood to have held briefing sessions with other groups of workers, who collectively own 55 per cent of the company following last year's employee buyout. Mr Greenwald has stressed that a transaction would not take place without the full support of all United's employees.

A spokesman for USAir said yesterday that he was aware of the briefings, but could not comment on whether United would make a hostile takeover move after Monday's meeting.

He added that takeover talks were still being held with American Airlines. Robert Crandall, chairman, has sent a memo to American's staff saying that the company would not stand idly by if United made a bid for USAir.

"If United seeks to acquire USAir, we will be prepared to respond with a bid, or by other means as necessary, to protect American's competitive position," he said in the memo.

The main takeover attraction for either American or United is USAir's extensive network on the eastern seaboard. USAir is based in Virginia.

USAir's finances have been improving recently, but not fast enough to counter the cumulative $3bn (pounds 1.9bn) of losses suffered in the last six years.

The company is also saddled with heavy long-term debts, and has the highest cost base among all the main American carriers.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Financial Director / FD / Senior Finance Manager

Up to 70k DOE: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Financial Director ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior / Apprentice Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

£11000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This financial company offer ma...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant

competitive + incentives + uncapped comms: SThree: Did you know? 98% of our di...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Did you know? 98% of our directors started with SThree as...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen