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The Importance of Entry Conditions Texas Airs Acquisition of Eastern Airlines By Shaoling Chen and Ling Cen.

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Presentation on theme: "The Importance of Entry Conditions Texas Airs Acquisition of Eastern Airlines By Shaoling Chen and Ling Cen."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Importance of Entry Conditions Texas Airs Acquisition of Eastern Airlines By Shaoling Chen and Ling Cen

2 2 Summary of The Deal Announcement Date: Feb 24, 1986 Completion Date: Nov 25, 1986 Acquirer: Texas Air Corp. Target: Eastern Airlines Inc % Shares Acquired: 100% Mean of Payment: 62.5% Cash, 37.5% stock Deal Value at Completion: Million Deal Attitude: Friendly Number of Bidders: 2 Other Bidder: Eastern Airlines Workers Union

3 3 PART I: Background

4 4 Industry In 1987, the Congress passed the Airline Deregulation Act; On December 31, 1984, the authority to enforce the Acts antitrust provisions was transferred from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to the Department of Transportation (DOT); In the early years after deregulation, many new carriers did enter the industry, and many existing carriers did enter new markets; After 1985, the rate of entry declined and most of new entrants went bankrupt or were absorbed in mergers; Major airlines all adopted hub-and-spoke networks.

5 5 History Of Acquisition in Airway Industry

6 6 Firms Prior to the acquisition, TAC was the eighth largest air carrier; and Eastern was the third largest carrier. TAC was a low-cost, high-productivity carrier while Eastern was high-cost, low-productivity. The major rivals of TAC long the same lines were Delta, People Express, Presidential, and to a lesser extent USAir and Piedmont.

7 7 Firms (contd) TAC had hubs at Denver, Houston, and Newark, while Eastern had bubs at Atlanta, Miami and Kansas City. The direct competition between Eastern and the TAC carriers involved their hourly shuttle services in the Northeast corridor: New York (LaGuardia)Washington (National Airport) and New York (LaGuardia)Boston (Logan Airport), two of which were the airports covered by FAAs high-density rule where slots were needed to gain entry.

8 8 USA Airports

9 9 PART II: Time Line

10 10 Feb 24, 1986: Texas Airline and Eastern Airline jointly announced the merger decision, as a resolution of Easterns financial and labor crisis. Mar 20, 1986: President Airway called a full evidentiary hearing on the anti- competitive impact from the proposed Texas-Eastern merger on shuttle service between Washington and New York. May 13, 1986: Texas Air agreed to provide Pan Am with one gate at Logan Field, and two gates at LaGuardia, as well as nine airport takeoff and landing rights at National Airport and 23 takeoff and landing rights at LaGuardia. And Pan Am paid $65 millions for theses slots. July 9, 1986 : The DOT tentatively approved Texas Airs acquisition, but insisted on guarantees that Pan American World Airways can provide effective competition to Eastern's Washington-New York-Boston shuttle. Aug 27, 1986: DOT rejected the proposed acquisition in concerning the reduce competition on the shuttle routes serving New York, Boston and Washington. Sept 12, 1986: Texas Air Corp. Friday refiled with DOT a new agreement that provided Pan Am with enough take-off and landing slots in the Northeast shuttle markets. Oct 1, 1986: DOT granted the final approval to the deal. Nov 25, 1986: Deal Completed.

11 11 PART III: Was the acquisition cost efficient?

12 12 Stock Price of the Target Announcement of acquisition

13 13 Stock Price of Acquirer Announce to acquire Eastern Air Announce to acquire Peoples Express

14 14 Event Study Of Announcement Effect Event Study: Find the pricing anomaly given an information shock. Methodology estimation window event window post event window complete Pricing Model: CAPM, APT or Other factor pricing model Abnormal Return: Deviation from the expected return according to the estimated pricing model from estimation window. (Announcement changes the pricing behavior) Announcement (day 0)

15 15 Acquirer and Targets Cumulative Abnormal Return (-1, 1)

16 16 Stock prices of competitors prior to/post acquisition announcement (announce February 24, 1986)

17 17 Comments Arguments against cost efficiency by merger opponents: the merger was perceived as anticompetitive. The merger announcement did not cause a statistically discernible increase in all the competitors stock prices; Even though some competitors stock prices depreciated, it only reflected the markets realistic fear of subsequent predation after an anticompetitive merger.

18 18 Comments (contd) Arguments for cost efficiency by merger applicants: the merger was perceived as pro-competitive. The stock prices of their major competitors whose performances were relatively inefficient were greatly depressed by the announcement of the merger; Those carriers facing either little director competition from TAC or Eastern or being already in competition with TACs low-cost Continental were relatively unaffected. The carriers whose stocks appreciated comprised a group whose value might be enhanced because of the enhanced prospect of their acquisition. The economic circumstances for successful predation in this industry were largely absent.

19 19 PART IV: Did the merger applicants have market power?

20 20 Market Definition and Concentration Arguments for: From the consumers perspective, service between point A and point B would rarely be seen as a substitute for service between points A and C. Thus, each city pair should be regarded as a separate market. Under this circumstances, the average HHI of a sample of 5053 city-pair markets in the1981, was 7780over 4 times the DOJ highly concentrated threshold. Arguments against: Provision of scheduled airline service among overlap city pairs at the national level should be relevant markets when considering all kinds of nonstop, single plane, and connecting air services. The proposed TAC-Eastern merger fell well within the DOJ safe harbor in terms of the national market, with a post-merger HHI of and with an indicated change in the HHI of 96.7.

21 21 (Contd) Arguments for: A relevant market could be defined as airport pairs. The other incumbents at the airport pair would be unable or unlikely to provide competitive discipline. Entry barriers, such as slots especially, were sufficiently high to foreclose or substantially mitigate a discipline effect of potential competition by new entrants at the airport pair. Arguments against: Competitive services from other airports in the cities could not be excluded from the relevant market: Within a metropolitan area airports are much closer substitutes for many travellers. The traffic flows between other airports over NY-Washington had increased compared to LaGuardia-National flows. The demand elasticity for services from preferred airports would be high. The existence of other strong incumbents could adequately discipline any attempted exercise of market power by initiating service between those airports. Beginning on April, 1986, carriers could freely buy, sell, or trade slots at capacity-constrained airports.

22 22 (Contd) Arguments for: Significant rents yet persisted in the form of excessive compensation for labor and management due to the strong power of labor union. Concentration of hubs after the merger might prevent entry and injure competitiveness. Contestability depends on free and costless entry and exit, while potential entry barriers were widespread. Arguments against: The pervasive fare discounting and low industry profits attested that no market power was exercised even in a city pair market. TAC and Eastern had hubs at quite different areas. Thus, their merger would not have added effect of hub dominance on competition. Concentration statistics such as HHI was not an appropriate mechanism to evaluate market power. Airline industry was a perfect contestable market, where supracompetitive pricing could not be sustained.

23 23 Contestable market When entry is free and exit is costless, the equilibrium price would approach the competitive price (AC), regardless of the number of actual competitors. Such a market is called Contestable market. The threat of entry has an effect on the market behavior of the incumbent firm. Market concentration does not mean market power definitely. Example: C(q)=f+cq, AC=c+f/q, MC=c

24 24 PART V: Was the entry easy?

25 25 Arguments for easy entry: The aircraft is not inherently dedicated to produce any specific service and is by design quite mobile, firms may convert production from serving one set of points to another easily and, in most instances, at little cost. Even for the service from capacity-controlled airports, the existence of a free market for slots transformed the slot requirement from an entry barrier to an ordinary asset requisite for production.

26 26 Entry barriers on capacity and operation authority at airports It was difficult to build new airports to accommodate new entry, which was mostly because of noise restrictions. It was difficult to share or expand existing airports because: Gates leases or building was limited by exclusive-use contracts, majority-in-interest clauses, etc.; Initiating operations was sometimes prohibited by noise restrictions, especially for several regional new entrants. The sale of slots declined while trade between related firms increased. Arguments against easy entry:

27 27 Entry barriers due to airline marketing strategies Computerized reservation systems (CRS); Frequent flyer plans; Volume incentives Travel agent commission overrides (TACOs); Overbooking privileges; Free tickets; VIP club memberships, etc. Code-sharing

28 28 An Example in Our Case: How TAC responded to the potential entry of Pan Am under different entry conditions? Before Aug 27, 1986 when DOT rejected the proposed merger because of reduced competition: entry is neither free nor costless TACs strategy: invest in excess capacity (holding quite a large number of slots) to deter entry. Such a strategy is called Top Dog strategy. After the rejection, TAC was forced to create free and costless entry conditions for the approval of merger. TACs strategy: reduce investment in capacity (selling enough number of slots and gates to Pan Am at acceptable price) to accommodate entry. Such a strategy is called Puppy Dog strategy. --Slots buy-sell

29 29 APPENDIX: Detailed Time Line

30 30 January 1986: Eastern Airline fell into financial distress and the board urged a wage cut of labor cost (wage). The Eastern Airline worker (pilots) union responded with a strike threat. Feb 24, 1986: Texas Airline and Eastern Airline jointly announced the merger decision, as a resolution of Easterns financial and labor crisis. Mar 12, 1986: Pan American asked the DOT to force Texas Air Corp. to reduce its holdings in Eastern Airlines, so that other bidders for Eastern might emerge. Mar 14, 1986: DOT gave Texas Air limited approval yesterday to acquire up to 51 percent of Eastern Airlines stock while the department reviews the proposed merger of the two airline companies. Mar 20, 1986: President Airway called a full evidentiary hearing on the anti- competitive impact from the proposed Texas-Eastern merger on shuttle service between Washington and New York. May 13, 1986: Texas Air agreed to provide Pan Am with one gate at Logan Field, and two gates at LaGuardia, as well as nine airport takeoff and landing rights at National Airport and 23 takeoff and landing rights at LaGuardia. And Pan Am paid $65 millions for theses slots.

31 31 July 9, 1986 : The DOT tentatively approved Texas Airs acquisition, but insisted on guarantees that Pan American World Airways can provide effective competition to Eastern's Washington-New York-Boston shuttle. Aug 27, 1986: DOT rejected the proposed acquisition in concerning the reduce competition on the shuttle routes serving New York, Boston and Washington. Sept 12, 1986: Texas Air Corp. Friday refiled with DOT a new agreement that provided Pan Am with enough take-off and landing slots in the Northeast shuttle markets. Sept 15, 1986: Texas Air Corp announced to buy the financial-distressed Peoples Express Inc. for 125 millions. Sept 18, 1986: Texas Air Corp. completed the transfer of 75 slots at two airports to Pan American for $60.7 million. Sept 19, 1986: Federal government approved a revised proposal by the Texas Air Corporation to acquire Eastern Air. Oct 1, 1986: DOT granted the final approval to the deal. Nov 10, 1986: Eastern Air workers union, representing about 44,000 Eastern Air Lines employees offered to buy the Eastern Air for 600 m and filed a lawsuit seeking to block the sale of the company to Texas Air. Nov 25, 1986: Deal Completed.


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