World Air Holdings, the Peachtree City-based charter airline operator, has agreed to a $315 million buyout by the parent of ATA Airlines.
World Air and ATA's parent, Indianapolis-based Global Aero Logistics, announced the deal late Thursday. World Air shareholders will get $12.50 in cash for each share of common stock if they approve the sale, the companies said. World Air stock closed Thursday at $11.25, up 45 cents.
The effect on World Air Holdings' 300-employee headquarters in Peachtree City wasn't immediately clear.
"The decision hasn't been made," said World Air spokesman Steve Forsyth. World Air moved to the Fayette County city from suburban Washington, D.C., in 2000, while under the leadership of ex-Delta Air Lines executive and Peachtree City resident Hollis Harris. He has since left the company.
The deal would combine two companies offering discount passenger, charter and cargo services.
It also would put another former Delta executive, Subodh Karnik, in charge.
"In addition to providing a significant premium to World's shareholders, this transaction provides the strategic and corporate flexibility for each of these airlines to shape a high-growth future," Karnik, Global Aero's president and chief executive, said in a news release.
Karnik was Delta's chief route planner and fare-setter until he joined an exodus of other Delta executives in 2004.
World Air owns two charter and cargo carriers, 1,400-employee World Airways and North American Airlines, a 600-employee carrier that flies out of New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
World Air also has a third unit, World Risk Solutions.
They will continue to operate as separate units alongside ATA under Global Aero Logistics' ownership, the companies said.
World Air's chairman said the company's board of directors approved the transaction after initiating a "strategic review" last September.
"This is the most responsible alternative to enhance shareholder value and is in the best interests of our shareholders, our customers and our employees," said World Air Chairman Ronald Fogleman in a written statement.
World Air has specialized in military charter flights and benefited from revenue boosts related to U.S. military operations in Iraq and Kuwait.
However, it also suffered financial indigestion and accounting problems in the wake of its 2005 purchase of North American. The company posted a $6 million net profit in the third quarter of 2006, the latest period for which it reported. It forecast operating profit margins of 4 percent to 7 percent for 2007.
ATA is a discount carrier based in Indianapolis that filed for bankruptcy court protection in 2004. Before emerging from Chapter 11, the airline shed its hub at Chicago's Midway Airport and greatly reduced its operations. It now has 2,500 employees and 29 aircraft.
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With a new name, Global Aero Logistics, the deal would combine two companies offering discount passenger, charter and cargo services.
Global Aero Logistics says it will be able to match the needs of its customers with a broad range of aircraft. Once combined, the fleet will include MD-11s, DC-10s and Boeing 737s 757s and 76s.
The data reflect ATA's first full quarter since coming out of bankruptcy last February.
If its stable financial condition improves, the Indianapolis-based company might sell stock to the public within two years.