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US: Virgin-Alaska Air $2.6 Bn deal put on fast track to trial

 |  October 20, 2016

Even if the US Department of Justice gives its stamp of approval to the pending acquisition of Virgin America Inc. by Alaska Air Group Inc., the deal to combine the two passenger airlines could still end up getting grounded this year.

A federal judge in San Francisco said Wednesday he plans to fast-track a civil antitrust suit challenging the acquisition so that a trial can be held as soon as December.

In a sometimes testy back-and-forth with Alaska Air’s lawyer, US District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California made clear that if the Justice Department green-lights the deal, he wants a trial before the transaction is completed.

“Even if the DOJ approves it, the district court could go ahead and enjoin it,” Alsup told O’Melveny & Myers partner Richard Parker at a preliminary injunction hearing to halt the transaction until trial.

Parker argued that the court should not intervene at this stage, contending that the civil suit is unlikely to succeed and that DOJ is “fly-specking” the deal to make sure it does not run afoul of competition laws.

Full Content: The National Law Journal

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