Brazil’s TAM to buy $2B LAN Airlines stake


SAO PAULO – Brazil’s largest airline, TAM Linhas Aereas is in talks to buy a stake in Chile’s flagship airline owned by President-elect Sebastian Pinera, Brazilian magazine Exame reported on its Web site.

TAM is interested in the 19 percent LAN stake held by Pinera’s holding company Axxion AXX.N, Exame said.

TAM may use proceeds from the initial public offering of its Multiplus SA frequent flyer program to finance part of the acquisition, the magazine said without giving a source for the information. TAM’s Multiplus MPLU3.SA is set to go public next week in an offering that could raise as much as 1.28 billion reais ($688.2 million).

The talks are being led by Andre Esteves, the Brazilian billionaire head of investment bank BTG Pactual, who is also a board member of TAM, Exame said. Esteves has also lined up a group of investment banks to help the Amaro family, which controls TAM, in the possible acquisition, the magazine said.

“TAM has an operational partnership via codeshare with LAN Chile and helps with maintenance of the company’s aircraft,” TAM said in a statement. “About the shares, we have nothing to comment.”