UAL to Acquire Continental Airlines

The WSJ reports that UAL Corporation (UAUA) is expected to announce a deal early Monday to acquire Continental Airlines (CAL) in a share swap valued at more than $3 billion. The board of United Airlines has approved the merger, and the Continental board was meeting later Sunday, the paper said.  The deal, when finalized, would create the world’s largest airline.

United and Continental had a combined revenue of nearly $30 billion last year. Their main jet fleets total 700 aircraft, and they employ close to 90,000 workers.

The merger, which is expected to have the approval of the U.S. antitrust regulators, will create a global airline with less route overlapping and new opportunities to attract more premium-paying travelers.

The new airline would be based in Chicago and run by Jeff Smisek, Continental’s chief executive, the Journal said.

The two airlines have been talking about a merger since mid-February.

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