November 28, 2018 / 5:57 PM / 20 days ago

Brazil airline Gol's talks on Smiles takeover seen taking 3 months -exec

SAO PAULO, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Talks between Brazilian airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA and shareholders of its loyalty program Smiles Fidelidade SA on the terms of the carrier’s deal to take full ownership of Smiles could take up to three months, an executive said.

“We expect three months to wrap up talks on the deal terms,” Smiles investor relations director Marcos Pinheiro said on Wednesday in a phone interview.

Gol announced in October that it would buy out minority shareholders of Smiles and delist the subsidiary, following in the footsteps of its rival Latam Airlines Group, which had announced a similar deal with its loyalty program Multiplus.

While Latam offered to pay shareholders in cash with a premium, Gol said the deal would be paid in a mix of cash and shares.

The October announcement prompted shares in Smiles to fall by almost 40 percent in a day. Shareholders in Smiles have complained their voting rights would be reduced.

In an interview with Reuters earlier this month, Gol CFO Richard Lark defended the deal as necessary to avoid being put at a competitive disadvantage.

Smiles said on Wednesday that it had appointed the members of a committee that will eventually set the terms for the deal.

Two of the committee members, Ana Novaes and Jose Luiz Osorio, are former directors of Brazil’s securities industry watchdog CVM. The other member is Jose Monforte, an executive who has worked in corporate governance institutions.

Pinheiro said the committee aims to set “fair” terms for Smiles shareholders in the deal. (Additional reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun in Sao Paulo; Writing by Tatiana Bautzer, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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