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Alaska Air is buying Virgin America for $2.6B

Virgin America and Alaska Airlines jet tails
Virgin America and Alaska Air Group confirmed their merger plans. (Credit: Alaska Air)

Alaska Air Group confirmed reaching a $2.6 billion deal to buy Virgin America after a bidding war with JetBlue Airways.

“This was a hard-fought competition, and we were very happy to come away as the successful bidder,” Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden told reporters today.

Virgin America President and CEO David Kush said he was also pleased with the deal. “The price paid is a big win for our shareholders,” he said.

The deal involves a cash purchase of Virgin America’s shares at $57 each, which is a 47 percent premium over Friday’s closing price. The merger was approved by the boards of both airlines, but still must face U.S. regulatory approval. That’s expected to be worked out by the end of the year.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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