Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) today announced that all four independent proxy advisory firms have recommended that Delta stockholders vote "FOR" the issuance of Delta common stock to Northwest stockholders in the merger of the airlines.
Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a wholly owned subsidiary of RiskMetrics Group. Inc., as well as Glass-Lewis, Proxy Governance and Egan-Jones also recommended a vote "FOR" a proposed amendment to Delta's broad-based employee compensation program.
"The Delta-Northwest merger is a game-changer that -- along with fundamental changes Delta has made to its business over the last few years -- creates an airline that is well positioned to weather competitive and economic pressures and continually invest in the customer and employee experience. It's truly a win for our employees, customers and stockholders," said Edward H. Bastian, president and chief financial officer of Delta. "The combined airline will be a global competitor with a more diverse international network, flexible fleet and the largest anti-trust immunized joint venture across the Atlantic.
"The ability to offer equity in the combined company to our employees continues our long history of honoring commitments and is pivotal to our ability to continue to energize employees by allowing them to share in the successes that they make possible in this customer-centered business."
Delta in April announced that it is combining with Northwest in an all-stock transaction to create a premier global airline that will be unmatched in the scope and level of services it offers customers. The new company will be called Delta and will be headquartered in Atlanta.
Combined, the company and its regional partners will provide customers access to more than 390 destinations in 67 countries. Together, Delta and Northwest will have more than $35 billion in aggregate annual revenues, operate a mainline fleet of nearly 800 aircraft, employ approximately 75,000 people worldwide, and have one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry. The merger is subject to the approval of Delta and Northwest stockholders at separate stockholder meetings on Sept. 25, 2008, as well as regulatory approvals which are expected by the end of the year.
Delta Air Lines operates service to more worldwide destinations than any airline with Delta and Delta Connection flights to 290 destinations in 60 countries. Delta has added more international capacity than any major U.S. airline during the last two years and is the leader across the Atlantic with flights to 44 trans-Atlantic markets. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers 288 weekly flights to 42 destinations. Delta's marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on more than 16,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. Including its SkyTeam and worldwide codeshare partners, Delta offers flights to 500 worldwide destinations in 105 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and flight status at delta.com.