Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados in New York and Rio de Janeiro, Aidar SBZ Advogados in São Paulo, and Sidley Austin LLP in Houston have helped United Airlines buy a 5 per cent stake in Brazilian budget carrier Azul Airlines for US$100 million.
Pinheiro Neto Advogados in São Paulo and Shearman & Sterling LLP's New York and São Paulo offices advised Azul. The companies signed the deal on 26 June.
The deal gives United Airlines a seat on Azul's board. The pair will create a code-share agreement, whereby flights will be listed by both airlines under their specific international airline code on websites and departure boards, and passengers will be able to book through either company. Azul will be able to put its flight code – AD – on United Airlines flights to North America, while United will be able to put its flight code – UA – on Azul-operated flights to Brazilian and American destinations. There will also be a joint loyalty programme under which frequent flyer miles accrued by passengers through one service will be valid on the other carrier's routes.
Brazilian-American billionaire David Neeleman will continue to control 67 per cent of Azul. Earlier this month, Neeleman led a successful takeover of Portuguese state airline TAP, paying US$391.2 million for a 61 per cent stake. The deal came as Portugal seeks to sell state assets as part of the conditions of its 78 billion euro (US$87 billion) bailout. Iberian firm Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira advised Neeleman's consortium, Gateway, while the Portuguese government turned to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in Brussels and Vieira de Almeda in Lisbon. Neeleman created Azul in 2008, and it is now Brazil's third largest carrier in terms of passengers after a merger with fellow Brazilian airline Trip in 2013.
Counsel to United Airlines
Aidar SBZ Advogados
Partners Ricardo Melaré and Guilherme Amaral, and associate Maria Virginia Delamanha in São Paulo
Sidley Austin LLP
Partners Kevin Lewis and Anna Ha and associates Mary Isensee and Troy Hunt in Houston
Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados
Partner Amadeu Ribeiro in New York and associate Andreia Molinari Saad Nogara in Rio de Janeiro
Counsel to Azul Airlines
Pinheiro Neto Advogados
Partners Vânia Marques Ribeiro Moyano and Cristianne Saccab Zarzur and associates Guilherme Sampaio Monteiro, Roberta Stettinger Bilotti Demange and Andre Gustavo Fabri in São Paulo
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Partner Stuart Fleischmann in New York and associates Fernanda Iacia and Jennifer Lau in São Paulo