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Midwest Air Group Inc. spurned AirTran Holdings Inc.'s $445 million buyout bid, choosing instead to accept a new $450 million offer from TPG Capital and Northwest Airlines Corp.

AirTran Holdings Inc., which hubs in Atlanta, raised its bid for Oak Creek, Wis.-based Midwest to $16.25 a share Tuesday. AirTran's new bid had topped a per-share offer of $16 from an investment group led by TPG Capital, of Fort Worth, Texas. The group includes Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines.

The Midwest board made its decision in an Thursday afternoon meeting after asking each of the suitors to submit "best and final" offers by 12 p.m. Thursday, Midwest said in a press release late Thursday. AirTran's final offer was valued at $16.27 per share, in cash and stock.

AirTran said it accepts Midwest's decision and will end efforts to acquire the airline.

Who expected AirTran to lose a bidding war with a private equity buyer...
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