May 05, 2007

Big US Airways shareholder sells millions of shares

One of US Airways' largest shareholders, PAR Investment Partners, sold 6.75 million shares of the company's stock yesterday, according to an SEC filing out this morning.

This is on top of its sale of 6.5 million shares in February. The hedge fund, one of the earliest supporters of the America West-US Airways merger and an investor in America West before that, now owns just 268,485 shares, or 0.29 percent of the airline.

The SEC filing did not give a reason for PAR's decision but it comes as concerns mount about the industry's momentum and as US Airways struggles to turn around its operations after a rough start to the year.

The sale price has not yet been disclosed but this much is certain: PAR will get substantially less than it did when it sold about half its stake in February. Those shares were sold at about $57. US Airways stock closed Tuesday at $37.06.

Today it is down slightly, to $36.78.

Despite the recent plunge, the Boston-based investment firm has made a small fortune on US Airways shares. Its initial investment was at $15 a share and it later bought more from some other early merger investors at higher prices.

A top Par executive, Ed Shapiro, has been on the US Airways board since the merger closed in September 2005.

By: Dawn Gilbertson

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