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Continental – United Merger Clears Federal Hurdle

U.S. Department of Justice completes review

Houston Airport System
September 1, 2010

© Houston Airport System
The next step in the proposed merger is a shareholders vote, slated for September 17

The proposed merger between Continental and United Airlines has taken a major step forward, with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) completing its review and offering a formal green light for merger plans between the two companies.

The federal approval marks a major milestone in the drive to finalize the transaction by October 1, 2010, and sets up a pivotal vote for September 17, 2010.

That’s when shareholders of the two companies will voice their collective opinion on the proposed merger.

The $3 billion deal between the two companies would result in the creation of the world’s largest airline, a possibility which looks more plausible than ever before, now that federal approval is firmly in place.

“We are pleased to have achieved this critical milestone and look forward to our respective stockholders’ votes next month,” said Glenn Tilton, United corporation chairman, president and CEO. “The combination of United and Continental will create a world class airline, which will deliver an industry leading network for our customers and the communities we serve, career opportunities for our people, and value and return for our stockholders.”

The proposed merger would certainly have a significant impact in Houston. In 2009, Continental and United collectively handled 86.9 percent of the air travelers at IAH, and as of August 16, the two airlines operate as co-tenants in the airport’s Terminal C facility.

The Star Alliance partners announced their plans to merge on May 3, 2010. Since that time, the two companies have received clearance on their proposal from the European Commission, and now the United States government as well.

“The completion of DOJ’s review is an important step on our journey of creating the world’s leading airline, benefiting our customers, co-workers, communities and stockholders,” said Jeff Smisek, Continental’s chairman, president and CEO. “The DOJ’s decision permits us to clear one of the last regulatory hurdles to closing our merger.”

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