11 May

What’s in a Merger?

I Like to Merge it Merge it

Raise your hand if you’ve always wanted to know all about mergers.

Raise your hand if you could care less, but you’re willing to go on this journey with me in the name of you getting some insider gossip at the end. K, put those hands down, let’s go.

Before the age of 24, when I became a flight attendant, my knowledge of mergers was that thing that makes me cry before I pull onto a highway. Post 24 I found myself smack dab in the middle of one. Woof.

Oh, that I had possessed the fortitude (and the smart phone- I was the last flip-phone cowboy) to truly delve into the topic back then. It would have made for a much softer landing (not sorry) when our two airlines finally melded together resulting in some serious growing pains.

That was my first and most important lesson in mergers: once they end, they’re really just beginning.

What Even Is It?

I’m going to be real with you- I googled “general mergers” as well as “airline mergers” and the stuff that came up, was straight up, not a good time. There were so many words like “statutory default”, “unanimous”, “LLC”, “shareholders” and more and frankly, they bummed me out. So, I’m choosing the simple definition on which to build this article. And I’m going to do so, using Tudor history because I want to, and because the other articles I found were boring.

We’re going to pretend that Henry VIII owns Tudor LLC, and Queen Catherine owns Aragon LLC. They both approach an arranged marriage with similar assets, as well as much to mutually gain from the alliance (armies, treaties, non-redundant trade routes). They get hitched and combine forces, and things are great. If this were modern times, I feel like Catherine would keep her maiden name, so while their assets were combined, they still reigned over their respective countries more or less independently, though they were there for each other when a plague broke out or a mechanical delay necessitated a handy codeshare.

Never not surprised this was the face all the fuss was about.

Her biggest mistake was having a cleavable neck.

But then, Anne Boleyn shows up. She and her fam are doing ok, living their lives, but they want more. They also, don’t have a ton to offer a king and his empire. BUT lucky for her (or not considering the actual historical outcome) King Henry is gross and is like “Huh, that chick can really pull off a French Hood paired with an obscenely large necklace. I’d love to get to know her better/one day put her head on spike. Catherine who?” So, he ditches Catherine, and merges assets with Anne. Anne though, doesn’t have much to offer in way of reciprocity so while we could still call this a merger, technically, it’s really more of a takeover.

Anne and fam are more or less absorbed into the royal family, and true they were wealthy, but they couldn’t offer reciprocal armies, treaties, or trade routes the way Catherine could. I’d say it was worth it for Anne since for a while there she made out like kind of a bandit, but at what cost?

(Approximately $9,700 of today’s money for the swordsman. That’s the cost. Oh, you didn’t know? Well, it wasn’t like you could go to beheading school back then; it wasn’t regulated at all, so the whole thing was kind of a mess. The dude doing it might not have a clue, and his axe might be really dull…you see where this is going. So Anne begged Henry for a swordsman to get things over and done with. I don’t know why the swordsman being French adds to this legend, but it does).

So, we’ve got mutual mergers, takeovers/absorption, and I’m pretty sure there’s a merger where both companies have something to offer each other but they still consolidate into a singular entity, either new or they choose one name or the other.

And there you have it. Class dismissed! If you cite me for your Econ or History paper, fair warning, you will fail.

My Own Merger Legend

I worked for a very large airline before I decided to hang up my wings. I’m not going to name it, because anonymity is everything with airlines and I value self-preservation.

I started a year before the merger began, and because it was a few years after The Great Recession of 2008, my airline had taken some financial hits. It was Anne Bolyn in this situation. Luckily, King Henry came along, and decided he wanted to join forces. We didn’t have many redundant routes and while their airline was smaller it had plenty of capital and was looking to expand without the added expense of paying for new routes and competing to keep them.

The actual merge was...not awesome. I suppose it’s to be expected; you’re combining two work groups, ways of operating, management styles- of course things are going to get a tad chaotic before they ultimately settle down. FAs from both airlines were unionized and the amount of voting that was asked of us…the number of ballots mailed to our homes would have provided enough kindling for an off the grid camper for years. Whose union do we keep? Whose work rules? Whose sick policies? And on and on it went, every vote outcome fueling an ever-present bonfire of bitterness from the losing side.

Not only that, but a rivalry in general of sorts broke out, and I didn’t see it ease up much even right before I left, 8 years later. They hated us. We hated them. Their work rules were better. Our service had been superior. They made us into the Greyhound of the sky. We made them do hot towels in first class.

Actual photo of my friend who shall remain faceless and myself cheesing when we should have been handing out the hot towels you can see behind us.

Your airline’s cart set-up standards make me yearn for a decompression.

 I’ll never forget, after a 15 hour day, stumbling into the waiting hotel van 3 hours late delirious with the grace of a drunken dock worker, only to be greeted with the shrill question “ARE YOU UU or AU?” I was AU and the second she asked me with feral accusation tinging the question, I knew she was UU.

Hey, I never said I never took sides.

Merging various procedures and ways of operating was definitely a “darkest before the dawn” situation but eventually (after a couple of years) things more or less levelled out, we found our feet…er wings, and became a stronger contender in the aviation world.

No one can hold a grudge quite like a flight attendant though, so I can still assume with relative certainty that the great divide endures post integration and will outlive humanity as a whole (offering coffee service on the cart while you pick up trash is disgusting; I can’t believe that was standard in your procedures and I will see you in hell).

Ya win some, ya merge some. At least these days you get to keep your head.

Posted by | Posted at May 11, 2022 1:45 pm |

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About us

Airlines depend on ELP Aviation because our software improves operational efficiencies, eases crew interactions, and increases profitability. We offer products that provide scalable and agile solutions based on the individual Carrier’s needs. We’re already thinking about how to solve the next problem.

Learn more
Locations

 

Headquarters:  103 W Spring Ave, Conway Springs, KS, USA

Branch Office: Narayana Enclave, Plot No 610, Road Number 33, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad-500033, Telangana, India.

Contact Us
+ 1 (316) 239-6080

info@elpaviation.com

 

Account
If you are an ELP CrewPortal App user please contact your Airline Department for questions.

@ ELP Aviation, Inc. 2020