US: State-owned Qatar Airways seeks 10% stake in American

State-owned Qatar Airways is attempting to buy 10 percent of American Airlines, a surprising move that would trigger an antitrust review by the US government and carry political and trade-policy implications.

American Airlines said in a regulatory filing Thursday that the bid was unsolicited but that the CEOs of both carriers had discussed the plan.

American, the world’ biggest airline, said that Qatar Airways told regulators it intends to buy at least US$808 million in stock on the open market, and Qatar’s CEO told American CEO Doug Parker he wanted to acquire about 10 percent of American’s stock in all, which would cost US$2.4 billion at American’s midday stock price.

Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker is known for his brash style. His company owns a stake in the parent of British Airways, a close partner of American. Still, the timing of the announcement caught everyone off-guard.

American, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are in a dispute with the three major airlines operating out of the Middle East. They accuse Qatar, Emirates and Etihad of receiving massive and illegal subsidies from the governments that own them. The US carriers are trying to block the three airlines from expanding service to the US.

Also, the Middle Eastern airlines have cut into some very lucrative routes for US carriers overseas.

Full Content: New York Times

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.