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Bates White expert retained on behalf of JetBlue in proposed airline merger

Nicholas Hill was retained on behalf of JetBlue Airways in United States et al. v. JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, in which the Department of Justice sought to block JetBlue’s $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines. Dr. Hill analyzed how the acquisition would likely affect competition in the airline industry. In his expert report and his testimony in federal court, he opined that the merger would allow JetBlue to bring increased competition to the Big Four airlines (American, Delta, Southwest, and United) and that the dynamic nature of the industry would facilitate post-merger entry and expansion by other ultra-low-cost carriers. The trial was closely watched by the antitrust community and the airline industry.

The judge stated in his decision that “Dr. Hill was a well-credentialed, credible, and thoughtful witness, who thoroughly and candidly answered every question posed to him by the Government, the Defendant Airlines, and the Court” and that his testimony and report “were useful to the Court in understanding the effects of this merger; the Court finds that his opinions are entitled to significant weight.”

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