There’s currently a power struggle for the airline, with dissident shareholders controlling 37.08% of the company.
The current airline Chairman and the family that has owned the carrier hold 22.45%. Executives at the company hold about 5.8%. With Delta’s stake that brings their total to 39.25% of Hanjin KAL.
Under South Korean law if Delta took its stake above 15% it would have to register as a business combination triggering legal scrutiny. Delta can still increase their stake by 4% without triggering legal scrutiny.
The shareholders meeting of Korean Air’s parent company will be held March 24, where the chairman will be up for re-election. The increased shareholding won’t affect this vote – voting at the meeting will be based on ownership as of December 26, 2019. However “holding more shares of Hanjin KAL is meant to brace…for what happens after the meeting.”
Delta has dismantled its Tokyo Narita hub and now funnels transpacific traffic through Seoul having initially twisted Korean’s arm into a deal. In addition to owning a piece of Korean Air, Delta owns stakes in Aeromexico, China Eastern, LATAM, Air France KLM and Virgin Atlantic. These investments both help Delta align the interests of those carriers with their own, and diversify their exposure beyond the U.S. market.