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New Investigations Into Virgin America SaleApril 11, 2016 By: Adam Leposa
Two law firms have announced separate investigations into whether the proposed sale of Virgin America to Alaska Air Group maximizes shareholder value.
Former Attorney General of Louisiana Charles C. Foti, Jr., Esq. and the law firm of Kahn Swick & Foti, LLC (KSF) said that, under the terms of the proposed transaction, shareholders of Virgin will receive $57.00 in cash for each share of Virgin that they own. KSF is seeking to determine whether this consideration and the process that led to it are adequate, or whether the consideration undervalues the Company.
At the same time, WeissLaw LLP said that it is investigating whether or not the Board of Directors of Virgin America acted to maximize shareholder value prior to entering into the agreement. According to a statement by WeissLaw, Alaska Air Group said that it expects the transaction to be immediately accretive to adjusted earnings per share in the first full year and that it expects an increase of 27 percent in annual revenue, as well as that the deal will expand Alaska's West Coast presence, improve Alaska's access to slots and gates in New York and California, increase Alaska's fleet to 280 aircraft and increase the group's daily departures to 1,200.
The moves follow last week's report that Richard Branson, who had been against the sale, had threatened to launch a Virgin-branded competitor to the combined airline. That prompted Alaska to issue a statement saying that it has exclusive access to the Virgin brand in the U.S.
Analysts Weigh In
Analysts are also beginning to take stock of what the sale could mean for the two airlines, as well as JetBlue, who had also been in the running to purchase Virgin America.
According to an analysis in The Street, the acquisition is unlikely to offer the cost savings of other recent mergers, such as those between Delta and Northwest Airlines, because there are few overlapping hubs that the two airlines could close. Additionally, combined union deals would lead to a substantial raise for Virgin's workers, also increasing costs. At the same time, Alaska has been facing stiff competition from Delta at its Seattle hub, and as the airport looks to expand again a Virgin acquisition could bring it flight diversification that will help it compete.
Forrester Research Vice President Harley Manning told Business Insider that the customer experiences would be difficult to combine. While Virgin America, famous for its purple mood lighting, sells itself as a cool, hip experience, the onboard offerings of Alaska are more traditional. As a result, the combined airline could choose to discontinue the Virgin America brand. That would be good news for JetBlue, which Manning sees as being similar to Virgin in terms of its experience.
"JetBlue is full of personality, with a little attitude in a nice way," Manning told Business Insider. "It's got distinctive food and entertainment with a presentation that easily palatable for Virgin customers."
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for further updates to this developing story.