BA and Iberia To Merge?

British Airways (BA) and Iberia held talks at the end of July with a view to an all-share merger between the two companies. The negotiations were supported unanimously by both boards. Each individual brand would be retained as part of a combined group.
“The aviation landscape is changing and airline consolidation is long overdue,” said BA’s CEO Willie Walsh. “The combined balance sheet, anticipated synergies and network fit between the airlines make a merger an attractive proposition, particularly in the current economic environment. We’ve had a successful relationship with Iberia for a decade and are confident that both companies’ shareholders would benefit from the proposed tie-up.”
BA acquired a 9% shareholding in Iberia in 1999 and has recently increased this to 13.15%. Iberia announced that it has recently acquired a 2.99% direct shareholding in BA and has financial exposure to a further 6.99%.
It is expected that it will take several months to reach agreement on the terms of the merger and to finalise a joint business and integration plan for the combined group. Both parties are confident of securing regulatory approval. The European Union has already granted BA and Iberia approval to co-operate widely.