Justice Department OKs Merger That Will Form World's Biggest Airline But Which Exchange Will The New American Airlines (AAL) Choose?

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American Airlines/US Airways Merger
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The soon-to-be-formed American Airlines Group Inc., which will be the world's largest airline, will be listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market in a big win for the tech-heavy bourse against rival New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The new company, to be formed of bankrupt AMR Corporation's American Airlines unit and US Airways Group Inc (NYSE:LCC), will be based in Fort Worth, Texas, the current home of AMR. Shares bearing the ticker AAL will be issued for the company, with 72 percent and 28 percent held by AMR creditors and US Airways, respectively.

American Airline’s parent company was listed on the NYSE but subsequently removed after the company filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011. The choice of stock market has likely to do with a lower listing fee, additional services and the ability to start afresh on a different market, analysts said.

"They're trying to rebrand themselves," Leslie Pfrang of Class V Group said Friday. "The Nasdaq has a growthy, tech, emerging-company brand image."

America’s largest airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc (NYSE:DAL), United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) and US Airways all trade on the NYSE with Jet Blue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU), Spirit Airlines Incorporated (NASDAQ:SAVE) and Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ:ALGT) all operating on the Nasdaq.

Judging by Friday’s stock prices, the new company would have been valued at $16.6 billion. US Airways shares rose 5 cents to $23.72 and AMR shares dropped 22 cents to $11.73 in afternoon trading.

The merger was announced in February but blocked by the U.S. Justice Department, which sued the two companies in an attempt to stop the deal. The department claimed a combination would limit competition and raise prices. However, on Tuesday a deal was reached with the government in which the new company would give up some of their takeoff and landing rights and gates at many large airports in exchange for the government dropping its lawsuit against the deal. 

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