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Korean Air restructuring at risk after Delta takes stake: analysts

US carrier's investment bolsters Cho family against activist fund

Delta Air Lines' investment in Hanjin-KAL could help the Korean Air parent fend off calls for reform by an activist fund. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

SEOUL -- Delta Air Lines' 100 billion won ($86.4 million) investment in Korean Air Lines parent Hanjin-KAL last week threatens to slow the restructuring of South Korea's largest carrier by bolstering the conglomerate's family owners against calls for change from a local activist fund, analysts are warning.

Delta announced last week that it had acquired a 4.3% stake valued at 103.2 billion won in Hanjin-KAL, the largest shareholder of loss-making Korean Air. The U.S. carrier, which a year ago announced a broad partnership with the South Korean airline, has promised to increase the stake to 10% over time, after receiving regulatory approval.

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