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BA and Iberia respective shareholders both approve merger

Earlier today, shareholders in British Airways and Iberia Airlines voted "overwhelmingly" in favor of a proposed merger between the two European carriers which would create the third-largest airline in Europe.  Among European-based carriers only Lufthansa and Air France-KLM would be larger.  The resulting business entity will be called International Consolidated Airlines Group.  The London-based Daily Telegraph reported that Willie Walsh, CEO of British Airways, would like to consolidate additional airlines within this new holding company in the future, and that this is the reason for the "bland" holding company name.

The merger is worth an estimated 5.7 billion GBP (6.76 billion EUR; 8.89 billion USD) and will be executed entirely with company stock.  According to the New York-based Wall Street Journal, shareholders of British Airways will receive a share of International Consolidated Airlines Group for every share of British Airways they own, and shareholders of Iberia Airlines will get 1.0205 shares of the new holding company for every share of Iberia.  Iberia reported on its website that five years from now, the new multinational corporation expects the airlines' combined efforts to produce 400 million EUR (337 million GBP; 526 million USD) annually in excess of the sum of the two airlines' individual expected revenues.

Both British Airways and Iberia are members of the Oneworld airline alliance.

Operational headquarters of the airline resulting from this merger will be in London, and corporate headquarters will be in Madrid.  Each city is the capital of its respective country.  Despite the move, the two merging airlines "will keep their separate brands and identities" according to the Wall Street Journal today.  The merger is scheduled to be officially complete on January 21 next year.  The Daily Telegraph noted solemnly that British Airways' individual ticker symbol would no longer be visible on the London Stock Exchange, as of January 24 next year.

Mr. Walsh, and Iberia CEO Antonio Vázquez Romero will hold a press conference at Madrid's Hotel Intercontinental on November 30, at 10:00 in the morning local time, according to Iberia's press release.

British Airways is the highest-profile airline headquartered in the United Kingdom, and was founded in 1974, from the merger of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.  It is based in the borough of Hillingdon in London.  Its largest hub is Heathrow International Airport (IATA: LHR; ICAO: EGLL).  It operates 239 aircraft (Airbus and Boeing) to destinations on all six permanently inhabited continents.  Company stock is currently traded on the London Stock Exchange, although the "BA" ticker symbol will be replaced by the ticker symbol for International Consolidated Airlines Group next January 24.

Iberia Airlines was founded in 1927, and is the largest carrier based in Spain, by number of passengers carried.  It is headquartered in Madrid, and maintains hubs at Barajas Airport in the Spanish capital (IATA: MAD; ICAO: LEMD), and also at Barcelona Airport in the northeast of the country (IATA: BCN; ICAO: LEBL).  It operates an all-Airbus fleet of 116 aircraft to 99 destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.

related stories

British Airways resolves Iberia merger concern over deficit (September 23, 2010)

DOT grants anti-trust immunity to BA-Iberia-AA alliance (July 22, 2010)

BA-Iberia merger approved by the EU (July 14, 2010)

original stories

BA, Iberia holders approve merger (Yahoo Finance)

Iberia and British Airways shareholders approve merger (Iberia Airlines)

BA, Iberia Shareholders Back Merger (Wall Street Journal)

British Airways shareholder vote to trigger end of BA name on stock market screens (Daily Telegraph)

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