delta

MIAMI — Delta Air Lines keeps expanding its influence in Latin America as the carrier intends to acquire up to an additional 32 percent of the outstanding capital stock of Grupo Aeromexico, taking the stake to as much as 49 percent.

The cash tender offer for MXP$43.59 (USD$2.62) per share is set to commence once required regulatory approvals in Mexico and the United States have been obtained. The transaction also is subject to approval by the Boards of Directors of Delta and Grupo Aeromexico.

Delta’s move follows a trend on a recent history of acquisitions of foreign carriers. Last July, the Atlanta-based carrier took a 3.6 percent of China Eastern Airlines Corp. for $450 million. In September, the U.S. airline threefolded its stake in Brazilian carrier GOL Linhas Aereas, and back in 2012, agreed to buy 49 percent of Virgin Atlantic Airways.

“This new investment demonstrates Delta’s confidence in Mexico’s future and deepens our relationship with Aeromexico, cementing Delta’s long-term commitment to the customers we serve to, from and through Latin America,” said Delta President Ed Bastian.

Aeromexico, a Delta Air Lines partner in the Skyteam alliance, is the leading airline in the Mexican market. According to the latest available data, the carrier transported over a million and a half passengers in October; a 5.8% year-over-year increase.

Both carriers have enjoyed a long-standing relationship for over two decades.  With an initial cooperation agreement signed in 1994, Delta began to invest in the Mexican carrier in 2011, taking a USD$65 million stake. Currently, the American carrier holds 4.1 percent of Aeromexico, and options for 8.1 percent more. Also, a Delta pension trust has options for another 4.6 percent.

Last March, Delta and Aeromexico filed an application with the U.S. and Mexican governments seeking antitrust immunity to establish a new joint venture on flights between the United States and Mexico, which would allow both carriers to collaborate on routes, pricing and other details without antitrust concerns.