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Old 08-17-2007, 07:35 AM   #1
JBM
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Talking "The Cookies Stay!" (or, TPG finally defeats AirTran for Midwest Airlines)

In the words of Midwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Tim Hoeksema, "The cookies stay." After yesterday's meeting of the Midwest Airlines board of directors, the airline accepted a $17 per share offer from the TPG/Northwest Airlines consortium.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, although AirTran could still come up with another bid (as they did after last weekend's apparent agreement between Midwest and TPG), AirTran appears to have thrown in the towel.

"We accept the Midwest board's decision," AirTran Chairman and CEO Joe Leonard said.

"We sought to acquire Midwest because we believe joining the two airlines would have created a unique, efficient, truly national low-cost carrier with tremendous benefits for shareholders, communities and employees," Leonard said in a statement. "We hoped the Midwest board would come to share our vision and reach a consensual agreement - just as a majority of Midwest shareholders recognized the value in our strategic plan."

While the presence of Northwest Airlines as an owner could pose anti-trust issues, supporters of the deal cite that NWA is strictly a minority partner (for the time being, anyway). Midwest and NWA will continue to exist as separate, competing airlines, although they may share some things such as joint fuel hedging/purchasing.

See http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=648565
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