This past week US Airways made it clear that it has more than a passive interest in acquiring bankrupt American Airlines. They had gone so far as to meet with American’s creditors to determine the viability of submitting a proposal to the bankruptcy court to acquire the airline. A week or 2 before that, US Airways had gone as far as registering various website addresses that included various combinations of the US Airways and American Airlines name.
Today, Bloomberg is reporting that IAG (parent of British Airways and Iberia) is looking at the possibility of acquiring a stake in American in order to prevent US Air from possibly pulling American Airlines from oneworld and bringing them to Star Alliance.
I thought it was interesting enough to see US Airways and Delta speculating about an American Airlines acquisition. Now it looks like British Airways wants to keep it all the family and acquire a stake in American. It would be a blocking gambit to prevent American Airlines from going to “enemy” alliances. No matter which way this jigsaw puzzle comes together, expect a regulatory nightmare for the approval process especially if British Airways is serious about it’s intentions.
With British Airways already dealing with anti-trust issues in their acquisition of BMI from Lufthansa (a decision must be issued by regulators by March 30), I was surprised to see British Airways jump right into the fray for the battle for American. Looks like they really, really, really want to keep the Star Alliance out of the UK. From their perspective, I fully understand the need for them to do this, but from a regulatory point of view, I really don’t know how they will pull it off. But it will make for great speculation in the weeks and months ahead.
What are your thoughts? How do you see the puzzle coming together??