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Thu, Jan 25, 2007

AirTran: Midwest Is Blocking Access To Shareholder List

Hungry Airline Asks NY Supreme Court For Help

AirTran Airways says Midwest Airlines is interfering with an effort to take its merger message to Midwest's shareholders by not releasing a shareholder list -- something that's required by a New York state law. As ANN reported, AirTran wanted to float its latest, upped merger bid directly to Midwest shareholders after a first offer was flatly refused by Midwest's board.

Now, AirTran has asked New York's highest court to intervene. AirTran wants Midwest to show cause why it isn't complying with New York law. The Court has set a hearing on the action for January 30, 2007, at 11:00 AM.

In a release, AirTran says this latest from Midwest, "...is consistent with a pattern of intransigence in which the Midwest management and board has failed to provide transparency about the benefits of the merger to its shareholders, employees and the communities it serves since AirTran first presented its offer to Midwest on October 20, 2006." AirTran say Midwest management refuses to meet with AirTran to explore its merger offer.

According to AirTran's statement, a well-respected airline financial analyst from Calyon Securities commented, "We believe Midwest faces an uncertain future as a stand-alone carrier" noting its years of losses and its limited ability to modernize and expand and the serious threat posed by an "invigorated Northwest Airlines" refocusing its attention on Milwaukee.

AirTran said, "As owners of the airline, Midwest shareholders have a right to full and complete information about AirTran's $13.25 exchange offer, which [is 61 percent over Midwest's thirty day average closing price as of AirTran's original offer, and 46 percent over closing prices as of AirTran's second, increased offer]."

On January 11, AirTran upped its original buy out offer of $290 million to $345 million. Midwest's board says it's determined to remain a stand alone company with plans for expansion in 2007.

FMI: www.airtran.com, www.midwestairlines.com

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