Shareholders approve LAN-TAM merger

By the Associated Press | December 21, 2011 | 6:25 PM EST

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — LAN and TAM are one big step closer to becoming LATAM, the largest airline in Latin America.

Shareholders of Chile's LAN Airlines approved the $3 billion purchase of Brazil's TAM Air Lines on Wednesday. Combined, the two companies had more than $11 billion in revenue last year.

Known as LATAM Airlines Group S.A., the merged company will be led by LAN CEO Enrique Cueto as chief executive and TAM's Rolim Amaro as chairman. Relatives of both men will move up to lead each family-owned airline in the group.

The deal has Brazilian approval and awaits the OK of Chile's Supreme Court.