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Stockholders overwhelmingly approve United-Continental merger

20-Sep-2010 8:55 AM

United Airlines and Continental Airlines stockholders approved (17-Sep-2010) the merger of United with and into Continental, clearing the way for the merger to close by an expected date of 01-Oct-2010. United and Continental announced a USD3.2 billion all-stock merger on 03-May-2010. More than 98% of the votes cast and 84% of the shares outstanding were voted by United stockholders in favor of the transaction. More than 98% of the votes cast and 75% of the shares outstanding were voted by Continental stockholders in favor of the transaction. United parent, UAL Corp, will own 55% of the new company, to be called United Continental Holdings Inc and based in Chicago (AP/Reuters, 17-Sep-2010). The companies have received clearance on the airlines’ proposed merger from the US Department of Justice and the European Commission. The carriers will eventually operate under the United name with Continental's colours, but do not expect to receive approval under a single operating certificate for at least 12 months. The carriers will then unify their websites, reservations systems and purchasing decisions. The carriers may begin to unify airport signage and offer shared check-in kiosks from early 2011. USD1 billion-1.2 billion in annual cost savings and synergies are anticipated from the merger. Continental's Jeff Smisek will be CEO of the carrier, while United's Glen Tilton will become non-executive Chairman. [more - United Airlines] [more - Continental Airlines]

United Airlines: “This vote is a significant step toward closing our merger with Continental, creating the world’s leading airline and the industry’s best network for our customers, a strong company that provides career opportunity for our people and an airline that can deliver return for our shareholders. There is much work ahead as we bring these two companies together, pulling the best from both of our companies, and building on the work we have each done to strengthen our airlines,” Glenn Tilton, Chairman and CEO. Source: Company statement, 17-Sep-2010.

United Airlines: "It's an industry in enormous flux right now. When you get into an industry undergoing tremendous change, being able to navigate the change from a position of strength as the new United will be able to, rather than a fragmented position, I think is enormously beneficial to our company. It just seems to me right now there is a reasonable balance between supply and demand in the business across all the business models. Most industries learned it a lot faster than this one did," Glenn Tilton, Chairman and CEO. Source: Reuters, 17-Sep-2010.

Continental Airlines: "We are grateful for our stockholders' strong vote of confidence in this merge. In approving the transaction, our stockholders recognized the value of bringing together Continental and United to create a platform for increased profitability and sustainable long-term value," Jeff Smisek, Chairman, President and CEO. Source: Company statement, 17-Sep-2010.