Latam Airlines shares jump over 30% after Delta says it will buy stake

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By Aislinn Laing

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Shares in LATAM Airlines Group (SN:) surged more than 30% at the market open on Friday, the day after Delta Air Lines (N:) said it would buy a 20% stake in the company for $1.9 billion, creating a major new airline partnership and ending the Chilean carrier’s ties with American Airlines. (O:)

LATAM shares were up by 33% within an hour of Santiago’s blue-chip IPSA’s stock exchange opening. U.S.-listed shares were up 39.3% before the market opened.

The surprise deal with Latin America’s largest carrier will give Delta a much bigger footprint in the region, a growth market in which LATAM flies to dozens of destinations including cities in Argentina, Peru and Brazil.

The LATAM deal is Delta’s largest since it merged with Northwest Airlines a decade ago.

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