I was reading an article that popped on Google that KL/AF can force a deal for them to purchase the 31% stake if they wish. The problem is KL/AF don't have a history of doing this. I say KL/AF buy 2% with DL owning 49% they have full control of the airline.
There was a good point in % listed in earlier post. UK does not allow more than 49% foreign ownership. Delta already owns 49%, meaning thanks to Brexit, no non UK company can buy any more of it.
That is not consistent with the tentative agreements between the UK and the EU and between the UK and the US.
The EU and the UK have tentatively agreed that the status quo regarding ownership and operating rights will remain in place for all carriers in the UK and the EU. So long as 50% plus one of an airline is ultimately owned by EU citizens and UK subjects combined, then the airline can continue to exercise the operating rights it has pre-Brexit and can fly between any two points in the EU, any two points in the UK, and any points between the EU and the UK.
Without this tentative agreement, IAG will have to break up since it is a Spanish corporation, whose ultimate majority owners are British, which owns airlines incorporated in the UK and various the EU countries. The tentative agreement, for example, permits Iberia to retain its EU operating rights which require actual and ultimate EU ownership even though its ultimate ownership is majority British and allows BA to continue to operate within the UK even though it is wholly owned by a Spanish company. Importantly, IAG is by no means the only carrier that would be impacted without the tentative agreement. EasyJet, Norwegian, RyanAir, etc. would all have to break up. The tentative agreement will enable VS to operate as a British carrier even if 31% were sold to AF/KLM with 49% held by Delta.
The tentative bilateral with the US will also not require divestiture of the various IAG carriers and will permit the SRB transaction with AF/KLM. Any airline whose actual or ultimate ownership is majority British, majority EU, or combined majority of UK and EU owners will be permitted to operate to the US from the UK and the EU under the present terms of the open skies agreement between the US and the EU. In fact, the UK was very upset and concerned when it first approached the US about Brexit because the initial US offer was a standard open skies agreement with majority national ownership requirements. This would have declared Iberia, for example, a British airline which could no longer operate from Spain to the US except by way of fifth-freedom flights originating in the UK and BA a Spanish airline which could not fly from the UK to the US except by way of fifth-freedom flights originating in the EU. Naturally, the UK did not desire that result.
Obviously, the agreements have not been executed but the UK has already been clear that it does not want to return to an ownership system that would require the break up of IAG, EasyJet, etc. It is fairly safe to say that the original agreement between SRB and AF/KLM would not create any regulatory problems for VS without creating greater regulatory problems for BA and IAG. It is doubtful that the UK government desires these problems for IAG.