American Airlines said Qatar Airways had expressed interest in buying as much as a ten percent stake worth at least $808 million in the U.S. airline. Fred Katayama reports.
Qatar Airways wants to buy as much as ten percent of American Airlines. That's what the U.S. carrier said in a regulatory filing. Its CEO says it's not "particularly excited" by Qatar's interest. American says the stake is worth at least $808 million. Qatar Airways says it's an investment opportunity. The company added it doesn't want to get involved in American Airlines' operations nor management. Investors cheered the news, sending shares of the U.S. carrier up on Thursday. Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio Manager at U.S. Bank, points to several factors behind the sector's recent rally. (SOUNDBITE) ERIC WIEGAND, SENIOR PORTFOLIO MANAGER AT U.S. BANK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "As an industry, they exprienced much better capital control and managment, so valuations have become compelling and that has been noticed by investors." The investment comes as Qatar Airways is taking a hit from diplomatic turbulence involving its home country. Five Arab nations cut diplomatic and economic ties with Qatar this month for, as they claim, supporting terrorism. That triggered the region's worst diplomatic crisis in years. Separately, American Airlines, United Continental, and Delta have pressed the U.S. government to curb U.S. flights by Qatar Airways and rival Emirates. They say their Gulf rivals have received billions of dollars in unfair state subsidies, a charge denied by the Gulf carriers.