The US Justice Department is taking sworn testimony in the form of depositions under an investigation into the planned USD11bn (EUR8.4bn) tie-up between US Airways Group Inc (NYSE:LCC) and American Airlines, informed people told Reuters.
The move shows that the agency is concerned about antitrust issues that could arise from the merger. Such depositions preserve testimony if the Justice Department decides to challenge the all-stock transaction, Robert Doyle, an antitrust expert with Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC, was cited as saying by Reuters.
There is a chance that the agency would force the merger partners to divest certain slots, take off and landing rights at the Reagan National Airport located outside of Washington DC. In the event that the combination is approved unconditionally, the enlarged group would hold 68% of the slots at the particular airport, a report by the US Government Accountability Office shows.
Gina Talamona, representative for the Justice Department, told the news agency that the investigation is ongoing, without providing more details. American Airlines and US Airways did not comment on the matter, Reuters added.
American Airlines is currently held by bankrupt AMR Corp (PINK:AAMRQ). The latter’s creditors, labour unions, stockholders and a portion of its staff will get a combined 72% stake in the new company, while US Airways’ shareholders will hold the rest. Following the merger, which is expected to close by the end of September, the resulting entity would retain the American Airlines name.