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American, US Airways boards approve $11-billion merger: sources

A worker walks underneath an American Airlines airplane at Miami International airport.

LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS

The unsecured creditors committee of bankrupt American Airlines parent AMR Corp. has approved an $11-billion (U.S.) merger agreement with US Airways Group Inc., people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The deal is on track to be announced on Thursday, the people said, assuming the boards of both airlines approve it late on Wednesday.

The merger would give AMR creditors 72 per cent of ownership in the combined company and US Airways shareholders the rest, the people said.

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AMR's unsecured creditors are expected to be made whole under the terms and also get accrued interest, while AMR's shareholders will get a small equity stake in the new entity, they added.

The merged company will have a board of 12 members: four from US Airways including its chief executive Doug Parker, three from AMR including chief executive Tom Horton and five to be designated by the AMR creditors, one of the people said.

That will shrink to 11 members in 2014 after Horton steps down following the combined company's first annual meeting, the person added.

All the sources asked not to be named because the matter was not public. US Airways declined to comment while AMR representatives could not be immediately reached for comment.

The deal comes more than 14 months after the bankrupt parent of American Airlines filed for bankruptcy in November, 2011, and would mark the last combination of legacy U.S. carriers, following the Delta-Northwest and United-Continental mergers.

A tie-up with US Airways would create the world's top airline by passenger traffic and help American and US Air better compete with United Continental Holdings and Delta Air Lines.

Some $11-billion valuation of the combined American-US Airways compares to the roughly $12.4-billion market capitalization for Delta, and $8.7-billion for United Continental.

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