The all-stock deal would form a coast-to-coast American behemoth with a leading presence in the top domestic markets, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, along with an extended network to Asia, Latin America and Europe.
The deal was completed in a remarkably short three weeks, and would give the airlines the muscle to fend off low-cost rivals at home and to take on foreign carriers abroad. United is buying Continental, and the combined company will keep the United name and be based in Chicago. It will, however, keep the Continental logo, livery and colors and maintain a large presence in Houston.
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