From today’s The Times (UK), noting the issue of foreign ownership stakes allowed for US air carriers: “BA eyes rescue deal for troubled American Airlines THE company that owns British Airways is examining plans to buy a stake in American Airlines in a desperate effort to stop the carrier falling into the hands of a rival. International Airlines Group is close to appointing an adviser following a round of meetings with investment banks about the future of American Airlines, which collapsed into bankruptcy protection last November. Willie Walsh, the group chief executive, has been forced to consider the move after US Airways and Delta began circling the troubled carrier. IAG operates a cost-sharing joint venture on transatlantic routes with American Airlines that it is anxious to protect. A successful bid by either rival would jeopardise that relationship, threatening the frequency of BA flights to and from America. Walsh is thought to be studying several options, including buying a stake in American Airlines. Current rules on foreign ownership prevent overseas airlines buying more than a 49% economic stake and a 25% voting stake in an American carrier. Walsh could also become a minority partner in a joint venture with an American company, such as Texas Pacific Group, the private equity company, to bid for American Airlines outright. Walsh has said in the past that he considers the existing partnership with American Airlines as a precursor to a formal merger, which would create one of the world’s biggest airline groups, flying more than 140m passengers a year. If American Airlines were to fall into the hands of one of IAG’s rivals it could be forced to quit the Oneworld alliance it shares with IAG. Oneworld is a grouping of carriers that agree to co-operate by sharing a range of services, including back-office support and maintenance facilities. It competes against rival alliances Star, which includes US Airways, and SkyTeam, based around Delta. US Airways has hired Barclays Capital, one of IAG’s main corporate advisers, to study a bid for American Airlines, while Delta has appointed Blackstone. US Airways is said to have held talks last week with some members of the bankrupt carrier’s unsecured creditors’ committee to seek their support for a merger. The aim would be to secure a deal before AMR Corporation, the parent of American Airlines, emerges from Chapter 11 later this year. Talks with creditors could prove key. AMR is trying to enforce drastic cost-cutting measures to ease the financial burden on the group. IAG declined to comment.“ http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/Companies/article1001761.ece You may need a subscription to view the article.