Bloomberg News

Nasdaq Wins AMR-US Airways Stock Listing Once Airlines Merge (1)

November 15, 2013

The company created when American Airlines (AAMRQ:US) and US Airways Group Inc. (LCC:US) merge will list its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market, a victory for the exchange operator after losing Twitter Inc. (TWTR:US)’s initial public offering.

American Airlines Group Inc. will trade under the AAL ticker symbol, according to a statement today. American parent AMR Corp. and US Airways settled a U.S. antitrust lawsuit this week that sought to block the tie-up, clearing a judge to rule Nov. 25 on AMR’s bankruptcy exit.

Securing the listing for the new American is a boost for Nasdaq following its unsuccessful bid to land Twitter, the biggest technology initial public offering since Facebook Inc. last year. Twitter, which picked the New York Stock Exchange, rose 73 percent on its first day of trading on Nov. 7.

“While Nasdaq has historically had a reputation for being a tech-centric exchange, it has done a great job of attracting other industries and is simply a better fit for the new company and the direction we want to go,” Ed Stewart, a US Airways spokesman with Fleishman Hillard Inc., said today.

American and US Airways said they expect to complete their merger in December. AMR bankruptcy creditors will control 72 percent of shares in the merged airline, while existing US Airways holders will own 28 percent. The company will retain AMR’s Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters.

Biggest Airline

The new American will be the world’s biggest airline by passenger traffic, passing United Continental Holdings Inc. It will join JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU:US) as the only major U.S. airlines listed by the Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. market.

US Airways, based in Tempe, Arizona, is now listed on the NYSE, as are Delta Air Lines Inc., United and Southwest Airlines Co. -- four of the five biggest U.S. carriers. Nasdaq has the corporate listings of Spirit Airlines Inc., Allegiant Travel Co. and Republic Airways Holdings Inc. AMR shares are trading over the counter.

“To have a legacy carrier list with us continues to define, for us, the fact that we’re on the right path in terms of building out our business and supporting our companies,” Bob McCooey, senior vice president in Nasdaq’s corporate client group, said in a phone interview.

The Twitter victory for the NYSE, which is now owned by IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc., highlighted how it has gained ground on Nasdaq’s dominance among tech companies. Nasdaq has responded with several victories on its rival’s turf, stealing Kraft Foods Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. from the NYSE during the past two years.

Nasdaq has been “aggressively courting” non-tech companies, said Patrick Healy, the Chevy Chase, Maryland-based chief executive officer of Issuer Advisory Group LLC, which helps corporations decide where to list.

Winning the combined American-US Airways “would be a huge win for Nasdaq,” he said before today’s announcement.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at maryc.s@bloomberg.net; Sam Mamudi in New York at smamudi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net; Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net


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