September 5, 2018 / 9:59 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Chile's Latam Airlines to take Multiplus loyalty program private

(Recasts; adds total amount Latam will spend on delisting)

SANTIAGO/SAO PAULO, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Chilean airline Latam Airlines Group SA said on Wednesday it will take its loyalty program company Multiplus SA private in a $289 million deal.

Latam Airlines Group SA subsidiary TAM SA, which owns about 73 percent of the common stock in Multiplus, said in a securities filing that it will offer to buy the remaining shares for 27.22 reais each, an 11.6 percent premium over Tuesday’s close. Multiplus shares closed up 4.5 percent at 25.50 reais on Wednesday.

The carrier said TAM had chosen not to renew an operational contract with Multiplus after December 2024.

After the delisting, Latam said it will merge Multiplus with its Latam Pass loyalty program.

Latam said it has the goal of increasing Multiplus’ market share, as the merger should yield cost and revenue synergies.

The airline described the Brazilian loyalty points market as “increasingly competitive.” “This is the most viable solution to Multiplus’ current challenges,” Latam said.

In Brazil, Multiplus’ main rival is Smiles, which is run by Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA. (Reporting by Antonio de la Jara in Santiago additional reporting by Paula Laier and Gram Slattery; editing by Leslie Adler)

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