Why Airline Mergers Don't Work
11 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2008
Date Written: June 20, 2008
Over the years since airline deregulation five of the remaining U.S. legacy carriers lost money on mergers that cost them a total of $29.6 billion. The combined market cap of these carriers at the end of 2007 was $15.5 billion. In other words, their return on merger investments was -48%. Why? Two very different answers emerge from the study of this record. The first one is purely subjective: Airlines are such a sexy business investors can't resist it. The second one is more objective: The bigger a legacy carrier gets the more it's exposed to the downward pricing pressure exerted by low cost carriers.
Keywords: Airlines, Mergers, Elasticity, Market Share, Earnings, Market Cap
JEL Classification: A23, B4, D2, D4, G1, G3, L1, L2, L93, M1, M2, M3
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