Qatar Airways still wants to buy a piece of American Airlines, and it’s willing to hit the open market to do so.
That was the message relayed by CEO Akbar al-Baker on Thursday. Speaking with reporters in Dublin, he said his company remained interested in American and wanted to buy up to 4.75% of its outstanding shares.
Clearly al-Baker wasn’t dissuaded by the lukewarm reception to his initial approach on June 22, when he expressed Qatar Airways’ intention to make a “significant investment” in American. A regulatory filing revealed that Qatar Airways was seeking about 10% of public shares.
The reduction of the share sought by Qatar Airways is perhaps a reaction to American Airlines CEO Doug Parker’s less-than-thrilled reaction to the unsolicited offer. In a letter to employees obtained by Business Insider, Parker called the news “puzzling, at best and concerning, at worst” while assuring his team that Qatar Airways would not be able to affect the company’s operation and strategy.
It seems that al-Baker has gotten that message loud and clear, telling reporters on Thursday in Dublin that Qatar Airways would “not impose” itself on American and that he envisioned a situation in which it simply served as a strategic investor.
But that’s not to say al-Baker has given up all hope of a 10% stake, telling reporters that he hoped American would reconsider a share of that size.