Alaska Air Group and Virgin America have confirmed that their boards of directors have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement, under which Alaska Air Group will acquire Virgin America for $57.00 per share in cash.
Including existing Virgin America indebtedness and capitalised aircraft operating leases, the aggregate transaction value is approximately $4 billion.
With an expanded West Coast presence, a larger customer base, and an enhanced platform for growth, Alaska Airlines will be positioned to provide more choices for customers, increase competition and deliver attractive returns to investors.
The combination expands Alaska Airlines’ existing footprint in California, bolsters its platform for growth and strengthens the company as a competitor to the four largest US airlines.
Combining Alaska Airlines’ well-established core markets in the Pacific Northwest and the state of Alaska with Virgin America’s strong foundation in California will make Alaska Airlines the go-to airline for the more than 175,000 daily fliers in and out of Golden State airports, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.
For Virgin America customers, service will expand in the thriving technology markets in Silicon Valley and Seattle.
The combined airline will also offer more frequent connections to international airline partners departing Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In addition, this transaction will open up growth opportunities in important East Coast business markets by increasing Alaska Airlines’ access to slot-controlled airports like Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the two primary New York City-area airports, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.
“Our employees have worked hard to earn the deep loyalty of customers in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, while the Virgin America team has done the same in California.
“Together we will continue to deliver what customers tell us they want: low fares, unmatched reliability and outstanding customer service,” said Brad Tilden, chairman, Alaska Air Group.
“With our expanded network and strong presence in California, we’ll offer customers more attractive flight options for nonstop travel.
“We look forward to bringing together two incredible groups of employees to build on the successes they have achieved as standalone companies to make us an even stronger competitor nationally.”