Alaska Air Group (ALK), Virgin America (VA) to Extend Regulatory Review of Proposed Merger

September 26, 2016 8:02 AM EDT

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Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK), parent company of Alaska Airlines, and Virgin America Inc. (Nasdaq: VA) announced that each carrier has agreed with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to extend the date of their timing agreement, stating the parties will not consummate the acquisition prior to Oct. 17, unless the DOJ provides written concurrence to close within a shorter period. The parties previously agreed to not close the merger before Sept. 30. The extension gives the DOJ additional time to review the proposed merger.

The two airlines are confident they will address any concerns and obtain regulatory approval to complete their pro-competition, pro-consumer transaction. Given the airlines' largely complementary networks, the relative size of this merger compared to past airline combinations, and both Virgin America and Alaska's emphasis on customer service, the airlines are also confident the DOJ will agree this merger will provide consumers more choices and lower fares while allowing for more robust competition against the Big Four airlines, which control 84 percent of the domestic market.

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