Hawaiian Airlines Grapples with Merger Obstacles as Meeting Looms

As we all await more news on the outcome of the investigation into last week’s Alaska Airlines blow out incident, and all of the repercussions, we will soon know more about just how the Hawaiian Airlines acquisition by the Seattle giant is proceeding.

Hawaiian Airlines Open To Other Purchase Offers + Other Details Revealed

Hawaiian Airlines meeting scheduled for February 16, 2024

Hawaiian Airlines said today in an SEC Scheduled 14A filing that it has scheduled “a special meeting of stockholders… on Friday, February 16, 2024, at 11:30 a.m., Hawaii time.” This will be via a live interactive webcast.

Shareholders are being asked at that time “To consider and vote on a proposal to adopt the Agreement and Plan of Merger” with Alaska Airlines. Also, “the compensation that will or may become payable by Hawaiian to its named executive officers in connection with the merger.”

Hawaiian chose this online voting format because “a virtual meeting provides expanded access, improved communication, and cost savings for our stockholders.”

The filing said that there could be a need for a postponement of the meeting to a later date “If there are insufficient votes to adopt the merger agreement at the time of the special meeting.”

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Hawaiian shareholders are to receive a premium of $18.00 in cash for each share.

That stock, prior to the acquisition announcement, was trading about 1/3 that price. Alaska hopes and expects to extract tremendous value out of the planned acquisition of Hawaiian.

Given the tremendous premium that shareholders will receive, it’s hard to imagine them not approving of being bought by Alaska. On the other hand, this could prove interesting. The Hawaiian Airlines Board has already approved the merger plans. As such, they are asking for shareholders to concur with them and the planned compensation.

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The prior filing gave further insights into Hawaiian Airlines’ need to be acquired.

Hawaiian expressed openness to alternative merger offers, acknowledging its strategic move toward acquisition due to the intricacies of expansion and modernization as a regional carrier, compounded by the substantial $900 million debt accrued over recent years.

Amidst speculation about other contenders, including JetBlue, the board stated, “We may consider other unsolicited offers for Hawaiian Airlines with the best interest of our shareholders in mind. However, we are focused on the agreement we reached with Alaska Airlines, which we believe is the best path forward for our company.”

While emphasizing commitment to the Alaska proposal, that filing underscored some continued investments in Hawaiian’s independent business to ensure resilience under any circumstance.

Regarding the Alaska/Hawaiian merger, the combined network would offer consumers more choices and benefits and preserve both brands while providing access to a wider array of domestic and international destinations for both companies’ customers.

As the airline industry faces intense scrutiny over mergers, questions continue about what the position of US regulators will be.

There remains uncertainty surrounding the future integration of unionized Hawaiian flight attendants, pilots, and maintenance personnel with Alaska’s team. Clearly the companies have not yet worked these important issues out yet. Hawaiian said, “We do not have an answer at this time. We will work with Alaska Airlines during the integration process.”

Do you have any further thoughts on the planned purchase of Hawaiian Airlines by Alaska Airlines?

Lead image of Hawaiian/Alaska joint website.

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6 thoughts on “Hawaiian Airlines Grapples with Merger Obstacles as Meeting Looms”

  1. My biggest concern with this merger is the potential loss of jobs across various departments, such as operations, dispatch, maintenance, marketing, and possibly airport staff. It could get ugly, resulting in more locals unemployed, leaving the islands, and/or a lot of ill-will.

      1. not sure how you can blame Covid, rwy 8L closure, SWA’s predatory fare war, the slow return of the Japan market, the NEO engine issues and the Maui fire on Hawaiian????

  2. I love Hawaiian for a lot of reasons, not least, sentimental ones, I rarely get a chance to fly them due to my locale, but have a trip booked from HNL to the “9th Isle” on my scheduled trip home in May… They really have no choice but to either merge of go under but I’m fairly sure neither option will bode well for the airline we all know today… Alaskan has its plate full right now with the MAX debacle (I’m sure they’re frantically checking for the loose door bolts UAL found on their birds yesterday). Change and progress I suppose… So they say…

    Best Regards.

  3. We live on Maui and travel to the mainland multiple times a year. The merger sounds very attractive to our family because we believe it opens up a greater number of flight routes that we would love to travel on a code share basis. Our only concern is making sure that Hawaiian Airlines will keep its individual name, identity and culture. We love the airline.
    Tom H.

    1. Tom, your post says it all. Of all the options available to HA it seems they have 3 choices.
      1)Go it alone and risk Chapter 11…may work out in the long run but a big gamble.
      2) Merge with someone else and the assets get picked apart and Hawaii is left with a shell of what HA was in Hawaii.
      3) Alaska has been adamant that they want this merger so they can capitalize on Hawaiians brand, experience and employees in Hawaii…it will establish Alaska in the Pacific Rim. They will be as firmly rooted in the Pacific as they are in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Two strong hubs in SEA and HNL to grow from.
      This is Hawaiians best chance of carrying their legacy forward.

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