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AirTran, Midwest edge closer to a merger

Last week, Midwest took steps towards a merger with AirTran after five months of resisting a takeover. Midwest shareholders elected three new board members nominated by AirTran to its nine-member board on Thursday, and will allow AirTran to present its case for merger to the board.

Reactions from the two airlines were quite different, with Midwest admitting disappointment and AirTran expressing pleasure with the results. AirTran's vice president of planning viewed the events as "a very positive step," reports Reuters, while Midwest's chief executive released a statement saying "while we are disappointed by today's results, we recognize that our shareholders have spoken."

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AirTran began its merger campaign in mid-December, but Midwest has remained steadfastly opposed since then. The Atlanta-based carrier has offered about $367 million in cash and stock for Midwest, and plans to expand its route map from the East Coast to the Midwest region. Its current offer for Midwest expires August 10.

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