Is Continental’s CEO spinning the truth about the ‘merger of equals’?

A look at what the airline’s internal message reveals.

A look at what the airline’s internal message reveals

Continental Airlines’ CEO Jeff Smisek will run the new United Airlines when the two companies finalize their “merger of equals” later this year. This would indicate that Smisek is right to insist that no one bought anyone, as he did in an internal message, according to media reports. But I can’t help thinking that there’s some spin going on here, perhaps to smooth the ruffled feathers of Continental’s employees.

In every business combination, there is an acquirer and an acquired. The details of this merger, however, send mixed messages. Although United is the surviving entity, Continental stockholders will get United stock, and the headquarters will be in Chicago, United’s home, the planes will sport Continental’s color scheme and logo. Half the board will come from United and half from Continental. The make-up of the board also mirrors the composition of the new company’s management, according to company reports.

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