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Air France claims KLM takeover

Air France-KLM will become the world's third biggest airline by sales.
Air France

PARIS, France -- Air France has claimed a successful takeover of KLM, with 89 percent of shares in the Dutch airline tendered in the buyout offer, a joint statement from both airlines said.

The statement said KLM shareholders had tendered 41.76 million shares -- well above the 70 percent threshold that Air France said it would need to secure the 833 million euro ($997 million) takeover.

The buyout would create Europe's largest airline and the world's biggest by revenue, ahead of Japan Airlines System Corp.

However, Air France has extended its all-share offer to May 21 under the same terms as the initial offer.

The French carrier needs to gain 95 percent of KLM to de-list the Dutch airline.

In terms of passenger traffic Air France-KLM will be the third biggest airline in the world, behind American Airlines and United Airlines.

Under the Air France-KLM tie-up, both airlines have agreed to form a joint holding company.

The Air France and KLM brands will co-exist for three years. Though the Air France-KLM will own 100 percent of both airlines, KLM will remain Dutch as 51 percent of its voting rights held by the state and two foundations, Reuters reports.

Such a set up allows KLM to retain its foreign landing rights.

The combined group would generate revenue of 19.2 billion euros a year, serve 226 destinations worldwide, operate a fleet of about 540 aircraft and employ about 106,000 people

Shares in Air France-KLM are due to begin trading in Amsterdam, Paris and New York on Wednesday.

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