CHICAGO - Shortly after clearing its final federal regulatory hurdle, Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines formally closed on its acquisition Wednesday of Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines Corp., six months after the proposed union was first announced.

The combined companies elevate Delta to the top spot among air carriers internationally, with expected annual revenues of $35 billion and 75,000 employees. Delta president Ed Bastian will lead the merged companies, which believe they can save $2 billion annually by combining in the $2.6 billion all-stock transaction.

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