US firms win mandates on airline mega-merger

Four US firms have secured lead mandates on the merger between Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines, which is set to create the world’s largest carrier.

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz partners Larry Makow and Stephanie Seligman are leading the firm’s team advising Delta, working with a Hunton & Williams team led by partner Hew Pate.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and O’Melveny & Myers are advising Northwest. Simpson Thacher’s team is led by partners Casey Cogut, Wilson Neely and Andrew Smith, and the O’Melveny team lead by counsel Timothy Muris.

The merger comes after scrutiny by regulators in recent months due to the size of the combined company and concerns about a potential monopoly.

Details of the deal have not yet been confirmed, though it is believed that a proposed stock swap would value the Northwest’s equity at approximately US$3bn.

Increasing fuel costs have put pressure on airlines in recent years, and further consolidation in the industry is expected in coming years.

All firms declined to comment.