America West Holdings Corporation
(NYSE: AWA) announced today that it had repurchased $20 million of its
outstanding common stock and publicly traded warrants. The equity was
acquired in a private transaction with Mesa Air Group, Inc., and in a series
of open-market purchases.
“These transactions reflect our belief that America West equity is an
attractive investment and underscores our continued commitment to enhancing
long-term shareholder value,” said W. A. Franke, chairman and chief executive
officer of America West Holdings Corporation. “America West has repurchased
over $75 million of its equity in the last two years.”
The private transaction is expected to close on January 23, 1998 and
involved the purchase of all of the America West equity held by Mesa,
including 100,000 Class A common shares, 200,000 Class B common shares and
800,000 warrants. Mesa Airlines, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mesa Air Group,
Inc., provides feeder service to America West`s Phoenix hub from 18 cities
through a codesharing arrangement under the name America West Express. No
change in the codesharing arrangement will result.
“This is the natural evolution of our equity participation in America
West,” said Larry Risley, chairman and chief executive officer of Mesa Air
Group, Inc. “We acquired the position in 1994 as part of America West`s
reorganization plan in support of this important partner. The tremendous
improvement that America West has made since that time has resulted in an
excellent return on our investment and together with our strong working
relationship has eliminated the need for stock ownership.” Mr. Risley is a
director of America West Holdings and America West Airlines.
In addition to the Mesa transaction, America West announced that it had
purchased 477,500 shares of Class B common stock on the open market between
December 29, 1997 and January 9, 1998. The shares were purchased in a price
range of $17.63 to $18.91. The equity repurchases were made pursuant to a
previously announced stock repurchase program encompassing 2.5 million shares
of the Class B common stock and all outstanding warrants. The plan is
effective through December 31, 1999.
The Class B common shares of America West Holdings are publicly traded on
the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol AWA. The warrants, each
of which allow the holder to purchase one share of America West Holdings Class
B common at $12.74 per share, are also publicly traded on the NYSE. The Class
A common shares, which are exchangeable for an equal number of Class B shares
but have 50:1 voting rights, are not publicly traded. Subsequent to this
transaction, America West has 44.1 million class B shares, 5.3 million
warrants and 1.1 million Class A shares outstanding.
America West Holdings Corporation is an aviation and travel services
company with annual sales of more than $1.7 billion. Wholly owned subsidiary
America West Airlines is the nation`s ninth largest airline serving more than
90 destinations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.