Qatar's unsolicited, unexpected and unwelcome bid for American

Qatar Airways

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On Thursday, shares of American Airlines AAL are moving higher, up about 1.08% in late-morning trading after the company said it had recently received an unsolicited offer from Qatar Airways, the Middle Eastern country's state-owned airline, to buy as much as a 10% stake.

American's bylaws require board approval to stakes of 4.75 percent or more.

"Qatar Airways believes in American Airlines' fundamentals and intends to build a passive position in the company with no involvement in management, operations or governance", the statement said. Foreign ownership laws also limit a foreign voting interest to 24.9pc, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline said.

Qatar Airways is getting squeezed in a dispute between its national government and neighboring countries led by Saudi Arabia, which accuse Qatar of supporting Islamic extremists.

Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. rose 3 percent at the opening bell.

Qatar is one of three Persian Gulf carriers that some USA carriers have criticized for unfair competition.

This year was not one of those years, as 2017's Airline of the Year isn't the same as 2016, but a familiar face no less: Qatar Airways.

In a regulatory filing, American Airlines said Qatar had notified the Federal Trade Commission as required for its potential investment. This has been a long, bitter, politicized feud, with the Gulf carriers strongly refuting the subsidy claims and USA labor groups accusing them of killing American jobs.

Other carriers included in this year's top 10 airlines list include Singapore, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad and Lufthansa.

The CEOs met earlier this month during an airline-industry event in Mexico, according to an American spokesman.

Despite its plush cabins Qatar Airways is tiny compared with American and other competitors.

The airline has also been financially impacted by the United States and United Kingdom governments' ban on large electronics in flight.

American and Qatar have limited codeshare and interline agreements, through their membership in Oneworld.

As if to comfort Qatar in its hour of regional isolation, top consumer aviation website, Skytrax, has awarded Qatar Airways Best Airline in the World for 2017. It owns just over 20 percent of IAG, which also controls European carriers Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling.

Qatar's request for a 10 percent stake would put it on par with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which always holds a 10 percent stake in the airline.

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