Tag Archives: merger

Portrait Photography by Michael Baxter, Baxter Imaging LLC

Scottsdale Companies Form Development Company

A new full-service development company, Cypress Development Group,  was announced today as the result of a merger between Scottsdale-based developer Sterling Collection Development Group (SCDG) and luxury home builder, Luster Custom Homes.

Longtime friends Nathan Day, president of SCDG, and Tanner Luster, president of Luster Custom Homes, decided to combine their companies and increase their staff in order to form Cypress Development Group that will specialize in high-end residential and commercial projects that combine progressive sustainable features with impeccable finishes.

The pair’s expertise lies in pioneering the most advanced construction techniques in order to bring new ideas, methods and best practices to the development industry with an uncompromising attention to detail. From concept to completion, Cypress will offer comprehensive development services including site selection and acquisition, development funding, strategic planning, project design, construction, green-building expertise and interior design.

“This is an exciting step and major growth opportunity for all of us,” said Nathan Day. “By partnering with Luster Custom Homes and creating a full-service development company, it allows us to critically think outside the box and streamline the development process. We can now manage the entire build process from concept to completion and do things quickly, efficiently and consistently.  We have the ability to explore innovative building process and test the efficiency, especially in the green building arena, and have full quality control under one roof.”

Cypress opened the doors to its new 4,000 square-foot office last week at Canyon Village in Scottsdale’s DC Ranch community. The new company also recently hired six employees, adding to the existing team of 12.

“We have worked with Sterling for several years now and have enormous respect for their reputation and team. Our greatest asset has always been our people and by coming together we have made a substantial increase in the quality of that asset,” said Tanner Luster. “There are great synergies between our teams, our services and our clients. Our two companies have a shared vision for innovation and success that will only be enhanced by coming together. It is a true reflection of our business philosophy, which is all about building smart, innovative products that provide real value for consumers and real estate professionals.”

Day and Luster began working together in 2011 on the first phase of Day’s development, Sterling at Silverleaf, in which Luster is the builder. Sterling is a luxury, custom-home community that sits on 12-acres within the gates of Silverleaf featuring a collection of 16 villas designed by world-renowned architect Bing Hu. The community made national headlines in 2012 when it was named Arizona’s first and only single-family new construction project to be awarded gold-level certification by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), making the villas the greenest homes in Arizona. Just this month, the US Green Building Council also awarded the project GOLD level LEED certification

Cypress Development Group’s first project will be phase two of Sterling, an additional 12 villas priced from $2.2 million, that will break ground later this month.

For more information on Cypress Development Group, visit www.cypressdevelopment.com.

Tanner Luster, Nathan Day

Sterling Development Group, Luster Custom Homes Announce Merger

A new full-service development company, Cypress Development Group,  was announced today as the result of a merger between Scottsdale-based developer Sterling Collection Development Group (SCDG) and luxury home builder, Luster Custom Homes.

Longtime friends Nathan Day, president of SCDG, and Tanner Luster, president of Luster Custom Homes, decided to combine their companies and increase their staff in order to form Cypress Development Group that will specialize in high-end residential and commercial projects that combine progressive sustainable features with impeccable finishes. 

The pair’s expertise lies in pioneering the most advanced construction techniques in order to bring new ideas, methods and best practices to the development industry with an uncompromising attention to detail. From concept to completion, Cypress will offer comprehensive development services including site selection and acquisition, development funding, strategic planning, project design, construction, green-building expertise and interior design. 

“This is an exciting step and major growth opportunity for all of us,” said Nathan Day. “By partnering with Luster Custom Homes and creating a full-service development company, it allows us to critically think outside the box and streamline the development process. We can now manage the entire build process from concept to completion and do things quickly, efficiently and consistently.  We have the ability to explore innovative building process and test the efficiency, especially in the green building arena, and have full quality control under one roof.”

Cypress opened the doors to its new 4,000 square-foot office last week at Canyon Village in Scottsdale’s DC Ranch community. The new company also recently hired six employees, adding to the existing team of 12.

“We have worked with Sterling for several years now and have enormous respect for their reputation and team. Our greatest asset has always been our people and by coming together we have made a substantial increase in the quality of that asset,” said Tanner Luster. “There are great synergies between our teams, our services and our clients. Our two companies have a shared vision for innovation and success that will only be enhanced by coming together. It is a true reflection of our business philosophy, which is all about building smart, innovative products that provide real value for consumers and real estate professionals.

Day and Luster began working together in 2011 on the first phase of Day’s development, Sterling at Silverleaf, in which Luster is the builder. Sterling is a luxury, custom-home community that sits on 12-acres within the gates of Silverleaf featuring a collection of 16 villas designed by world-renowned architect Bing Hu. The community made national headlines in 2012 when it was named Arizona’s first and only single-family new construction project to be awarded gold-level certification by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), making the villas the greenest homes in Arizona. Just this month, the US Green Building Council also awarded the project GOLD level LEED certification 

Cypress Development Group’s first project will be phase two of Sterling, an additional 12 villas priced from $2.2M, that will break ground later this month.

 

usairways

Airports seek opportunity to support airline merger

The airports dominated by American Airlines and US Airways say they’ll be hurt if the carriers can’t merge.

The airports want to file a friend-of-the-court statement supporting the merger, which is the subject of a trial scheduled to start Nov. 25 in U.S. district court in Washington.

The request was filed Monday by Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International and Philadelphia, which operates of Philadelphia International Airport.

The U.S. Justice Department sued in August to block the merger, saying that the deal would limit competition and drive up consumer prices.

The airports said if they’re allowed to file a brief, they’ll show that blocking the merger would hurt domestic and international competition “to the detriment of the traveling public and labor, as well as to airports and their local communities.”

usairways

US Airways dealt setback in merger-lawsuit trial

A court-appointed official says American Airlines and US Airways shouldn’t get to know the identity of all the people that the government interviewed before trying to block the airlines’ proposed merger.

The airlines also want to know what those people told the Justice Department.

The court official, called a special master, recommended Thursday that the federal judge hearing the case reject the airlines’ request.

American and US Airways were close to completing their deal and creating the world’s biggest airline when the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit in August. The government says the merger will limit competition and lead to higher prices. A trial is scheduled to start Nov. 25 in Washington.

AMR-US Airways

Shareholders OK US Airways -American merger

US Airways and American Airlines moved closer to creating the world’s biggest airline Friday, as US Airways shareholders overwhelmingly approved their proposed merger.

Shareholders of US Airways Group Inc. would get 28 percent of the shares in the combined company, with the rest going to creditors, employees and shareholders of American Airlines parent AMR Corp.

US Airways said that 132,273,780 shares were voted in favor of the merger while 257,757 shares were voted against it. Another 256,523 abstained.

The merger is still being reviewed by antitrust regulators at the U.S. Department of Justice. It also needs the approval of American’s creditors the judge overseeing the airline’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Critics of the merger worry that it will reduce competition and drive up prices. Similar complaints arose around the mergers of Delta and Northwest in 2008, United and Continental in 2010, and Southwest and AirTran in 2011. Antitrust regulators allowed all those deals to go through.

Those other mergers changed the industry landscape, creating giants that made it harder for US Airways and American to compete, said Doug Parker, CEO of Tempe-based US Airways.

The merger “creates a fourth strong competitor to United, Delta and Southwest,” said Parker, who will become CEO of the combined carrier, which will keep the American Airlines name and be based in Texas.

If the American-US Airways deal goes through, those four airlines will control more than 80 percent of the domestic air-travel market.

 

usairways

How will airline merger impact Arizona?

The potential merger of US Airways and American Airways raised fears in Arizona that the combined airline would ditch its major hub in Phoenix, costing thousands of jobs in a region just now recovering from the housing collapse and recession that crippled the economy for years.

But when the merger was announced Thursday, city and airline officials both said those worries were overblown.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker said Sky Harbor International Airport and the vast majority of the employees based there aren’t going anywhere when the two companies merge. Instead, he said not only Sky Harbor, but the combined airlines’ seven other major hubs will stay.

That brought elation from officials in Phoenix, where 300 US Airways flights a day use 50 gates at the airport’s largest terminal. US Airways has about 9,000 employees in Arizona, most at Sky Harbor. Between 600-750 work at the company’s headquarters in nearby Tempe, and some of those are expected to go to Texas once the merger is complete, including Parker.

But John McDonald, the company’s vice president for corporate communications, said US Airways just signed a new five-year lease with a five-year option on its headquarters building and expects to keep hundreds of people working there.

American has a tiny presence by comparison, with just 20 departures a day using three gates in the smaller Terminal 3. Those operations will most likely move to the US Airways area of Terminal 4 when the merger is complete, airport spokeswoman Deborah Ostreicher said.

Still, the loss of the headquarters is a blow, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, even though the city will see more international destinations added with the merger.

“It’s great news that the world’s largest airline will maintain Sky Harbor and Phoenix, Arizona as a hub. It good news for the business environment in our entire region,” Stanton told reporters at the airport. “But we’re not naive, we’re not naive, we know it’s disappointing to lose a corporate headquarters, particularly one that has the history of US Airways and before that America West. We went through the 90s together, we went through Sept. 11 together. Phoenix was a big part of the recovery of America West after that tragedy.”

America West Airlines, headed by Parker, merged with US Airways in 2005 and kept its corporate headquarters in Tempe. The company has struggled with combining its labor contracts, but McDonald said that’s never been something that affected customer service. That, he said, has become better, with better on-time and lower baggage loss rates.

Some airline analysts questioned Thursday whether the combined company could keep all eight hubs, placing Phoenix on the short list for eventual closure. But McDonald said that’s not the case, American’s Los Angeles hub complements Phoenix, just as several hubs in the eastern U.S. complement each other.

“When you have an airport like Phoenix that can have a massive western region to feed, out of Phoenix, you have an asset to bring to this equation,” McDonald said. “American Airlines has a lot of trans-continental out of Los Angeles, they also operate some Asian Pacific out of Los Angeles, with very little West coast feed into that hub.”

usairways

Report: AMR, US Airways boards meet Wednesday

Directors of American Airlines and US Airways reportedly plan to meet Wednesday to consider a merger.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that negotiators were still considering the makeup of the combined company’s board and an exact role for the CEO of American parent AMR Corp.

US Airways and AMR declined to comment.

The companies are trying to finish a deal before Friday, when a confidentiality agreement covering some AMR bondholders expires. That could result in public disclosure about negotiation details.

If the two carriers were to strike a deal, it would create the world’s biggest airline by passenger traffic, although United Continental Holdings Inc. would still be bigger if regional affiliates are counted.

AMR has been operating under bankruptcy protection since November 2011.

US Airways has pushed for months for a merger. AMR executives were initially reluctant, but the company’s bankruptcy creditors urged AMR to consider a merger that they could compare to an independent American Airlines.

Shares of US Airways Group Inc. fell 29 cents, or 2 percent, to $14.46.

US Airways jet

American Airlines studies options with US Airways

Directors of American Airlines’ parent company likely won’t make a decision when they meet Wednesday to consider a possible merger with US Airways, even as momentum for a deal is building.

Investors have been bidding up US Airways’ stock price, and leaders of the two pilot unions agree on how to combine contracts, two developments that analysts say strengthen the case for a tie-up.

Still there could be a way to go. American parent AMR Corp., which filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2011, and US Airways Group Inc. have been talking about a potential merger since late summer but have not agreed on price, each side’s ownership share, and who would run the company, according to people familiar with the situation. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

AMR CEO Thomas Horton raised expectations of a speedy outcome when he told employees last week that the company would decide “within a matter of weeks” whether it would be better to merge with smaller US Airways or remain independent.

That fueled speculation that AMR’s board would make a decision this week. Bruce Hicks, an AMR spokesman, tamped down the rumors Monday, saying, “I am not expecting any news regarding the review of strategic alternatives this week.”

There is no guarantee that American and US Airways will ever reach a friendly deal to create a single airline roughly the same size as United Airlines, currently the biggest, and larger than No. 2 Delta.

usairways

American, US Airways move one step closer to merger

American Airlines and US Airways are one step closer to a potential merger.

The companies said Friday they have started confidential merger talks. But a deal is still far from reality.

“It does not mean we are merging — it simply means we have agreed to work together to discuss and analyze a potential merger,” US Airways CEO Doug Parker said in a letter to employees Friday.

Such a merger would put the combined airline on par with the world’s largest — United Continental Holdings Inc. — and the slightly smaller Delta Air Lines. Its position as the No. 1 or No. 2 airline in the world, based on how many miles its passengers fly, would depend on how many routes anti-trust regulators force the combined airline to abandon.

Many industry experts say the only way American and US Airways can compete with larger rivals is by merging their strengths. US Airways would gain American’s lucrative international routes while American’s larger hubs would be fed passengers from US Airways’ network in smaller U.S. cities.

For passengers, a merger would have no immediate impact. But a year or two into the combination, changes would ramp up: Frequent flier programs would merge, fares could rise, planes would take on American Airlines’ colors and glitches could surface as their reservation systems integrate.

Parker has been pushing for a merger since American’s parent company, AMR Corp., entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 29, 2011. American Airlines CEO Tom Horton has said his airline is weighing several options, including remaining independent or merging with one of several airlines, including US Airways Group Inc.

One wildcard: British Airways’ parent company International Consolidated Airlines Group, which confirmed Friday that it too had signed a non-disclosure agreement with American. Foreign investors are prohibited from owning more than 25 percent of a U.S. airline but a cash infusion from British Airways could help American remain independent or give Horton enough leverage so his leadership team can call the shots in a merger with US Airways.

AMR still has to work itself through the bankruptcy process. It has exclusive rights until Dec. 28 to present the court and its creditors with an exit plan. Government regulators would have to sign off on any merger and then the process of actually combining operations could take years.

US Airways previously said the combined airline would keep the American name and American’s participation in the OneWorld alliance, which includes British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and eight other carriers. If past mergers are any indication, frequent flier miles would ultimately be merged into American’s AAdvantage program.

In the past decade, the airline industry has seen the combinations of Delta with Northwest, United with Continental and Southwest Airlines Co. with AirTran. Further consolidation is likely to mean higher airfares for passengers. The price of a domestic round-trip flight has climbed nearly 20 percent, when adjusted for inflation, over the last 10 year according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

American currently serves about 250 cities in more than 40 countries with 3,400 daily flights. US Airways has 200 destinations in 28 countries with 3,200 daily flights. There is some overlap. But by joining forces the combined airline becomes more attractive to companies seeking to fly employees around the globe with few connections.

US Airways passengers would gain access to American’s international destinations, particularly London and Latin America. American’s passengers would be able to better connect to smaller U.S. cities that US Airways serves.

The combined carrier would have considerable presence in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Charlotte, N.C., Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix and Los Angeles. It is unclear how many of those cities will survive the merger. In past mergers, airline executives have promised not to close any hubs but have gone ahead and dramatically reduced service in once-key cities.

The two airlines currently have a combined 97,000 employees, although American has been quickly shrinking its payroll as it moves through restructuring in bankruptcy court. Past airline mergers have led to job losses.

US Airways has said that it would move its headquarters from Tempe, Ariz. to American’s in Fort Worth, Texas.

Nothing in the non-disclosure agreement with US Airways prevents American from discussing a merger with another airline. It just can’t disclose details of its US Airways merger talks with a third party. In a note to American Airlines managers Friday morning about US Airways, the airlines said “other parties have also signed confidentiality agreements.”

International Airlines Group, parent of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, is one of those parties, British Airways spokeswoman Caroline Titmuss said Friday. The two airlines already have a joint business agreement for flights across the Atlantic Ocean and were founding members of the OneWorld frequent flier alliance.

The agreement with British Airways could be a sign that American is lining up the financing to remain independent, said Ray Neidl, an airline specialist with the Maxim Group.

American spokesman Bruce Hicks wouldn’t say if any other airlines had signed one.

The CEOs of JetBlue Airways Corp. and Alaska Air Group Inc. have both publically said they are not interested in a merger with American. JetBlue spokeswoman Alison Croyle said Friday that the airline has not signed a non-disclosure agreement with American.

Virgin America and Frontier Airlines, part of Republic Airways Holdings Inc., have also been discussed as merger partners but representatives from the airlines have declined to comment, saying it was just speculation.

Regardless, US Airways is the most-likely partner for a merger.

“I don’t think there’s really any other realistic prospect out there for American,” said Savanthi Syth, an airlines analyst with Raymond James.

The airlines warned in a joint press release that they will not “provide any further announcements regarding the status of any such discussions unless” a merger is ready to be announced or if the talks fall apart.

US Airways’ stock closed Friday at $10.66, up 2.5 percent. Shares in the company have more than doubled since AMR filed for bankruptcy, driven up by merger speculation.

AMR-US Airways

What an American-US Airways merger means to you

While American Airlines and US Airways have started merger discussions, it would be several months — if not years — before passengers see any real impact.

Passengers with existing tickets on American or US Airways — and members of both frequent flier programs — shouldn’t fret. No changes will come anytime soon.

Assuming quick merger negotiations, American’s parent company, AMR Corp., would still have to work its way through the bankruptcy process. Then the Department of Transportation and the Justice Department would have to sign off on it. Finally, once a deal closes, the new company could operate two separate airlines for a number of years.

If the airlines finally merge, here’s what passengers can expect:

AIRFARE

In the past decade, the airline industry has seen the combinations of Delta with Northwest, United with Continental and Southwest Airlines Co. with AirTran. Further consolidation is likely to raise airfares. The price of a domestic round-trip flight has climbed nearly 20 percent, when adjusted for inflation, over the last 10 years, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The merger would give a combined American and US Airways Group Inc. the ability to increase fares. United, Delta and Southwest would be likely to follow.

FREQUENT FLIER MILES

Your miles would be safe. Eventually, the two airlines would merge the miles into one program. Before then, elite status from one airline would likely be honored on the other and passengers would be able to transfer miles from one program to another. That puts the occasional traveler closer to rewards.

The merged carrier would continue American’s participation in the OneWorld alliance, which was founded by American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Qantas. Today, it has 12 airlines including Finnair, Mexicana and Japan Airlines. US Airways would leave the Star Alliance, which includes rival United Airlines, Lufthansa, Air Canada and 24 other airlines. Alliances allow passengers to earn and redeem miles on partner airlines.

DESTINATIONS

A key reason for merging is to link both airlines’ networks, creating a system on par with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, part of United Continental Holdings Inc. American currently serves about 250 cities in more than 40 countries with 3,400 daily flights. US Airways has 200 destinations in 28 countries with 3,200 daily flights. There is some overlap. But by joining forces the combined airline would become more attractive to companies seeking to fly employees around the globe with few connections.

US Airways passengers would gain access to American’s international destinations, particularly London and Latin America. American’s passengers would be able to better connect to smaller U.S. cities that US Airways serves.

The combined carrier would have considerable presence in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Charlotte, N.C., Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix and Los Angeles. It is unclear how many of those cities would survive the merger. In past mergers, airlines have promised not to close any hubs but have gone ahead and dramatically reduced service in once-key cities.

PASSENGER CONFUSION

The merger of two airlines often means confusion and hassle for customers. Which terminal or ticket counter do they go to for check in? If there is a problem with a ticket, which company should they call? For a while, United and Continental were issuing two confirmation numbers for each ticket so either airline’s staff could make changes. Problems with the integration of their frequent flier programs angered many loyal road warriors. It could be months, if not years, until all American and US Airways planes get a uniform paint job.

“These things are never as seamless as they seem,” said Thomas Lawton, a professor of business administration at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of business. “There will probably be some initial teething problems.”