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Official: Block Airline Merger

June 6, 2000

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to block the proposed United Airlines-US Airways merger and said he would sue to stop it if regulators don’t.

``It will force a merger phenomena to occur,″ Hatch said Monday of United’s proposed acquisition of US Airways for $4.3 billion in cash. ``We’re basically going to end up with three national carriers.″

Hatch said too much consolidation would allow ``behemoth″ companies to undercut smaller competitors and leave consumers with fewer options. He also said it creates a situation where a strike could cripple the air-traveling public.

Industry experts have said Chicago-based United’s competitors, including Eagan-based Northwest, likely would have to explore merger possibilities of their own to be viable if the United merger is approved.

Within days after the May 24 announcement of the United-US Aiways deal, Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher began an antitrust probe into United Airlines’ plan to buy US Airways, and he is urging other states’ attorneys general to do the same.

Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, also called for federal antitrust hearings on the merger.

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