The German group Lufthansa and the Geneva group MSC have put together a joint offer to take a majority stake in ITA Airways, the successor to the Italian Alitalia, currently 100% owned by the Italian government.
In a statement released on Monday evening, ITA Airways confirmed that it had received an expression of interest from Lufthansa and MSC Group as part of a joint bid.
ITA Airways has been courting Lufthansa since officially replacing Alitalia in October 2021. Sources only claimed on Saturday that Lufthansa was seeking a 40% minority stake in the carrier.
“MSC Group has agreed with Lufthansa to participate in the partnership on terms to be determined during due diligence,” an ITA Airways spokesperson said Monday.
“MSC Group and Lufthansa have expressed a desire for the Italian government to retain a minority stake in the company. Additionally, MSC Group and Lufthansa have requested 90 days of exclusivity to work on this expression of interest,” the statement continued.
MSC Group is also known as Mediterranean Shipping Company with a global presence in 155 countries. It remains a private company in the hands of the ultra-wealthy Aponte family with a fleet of 600 ships and 100,000 employees.
It is perhaps best known to the general public for its MSC Cruise division.
The board of directors of ITA Airways is due to meet at the end of January to discuss, among other things, the takeover bid. The leaders should also discuss the resuscitation of the Alitalia brand which was bought by ITA for the modest sum of 90 million euros.
The airline has suggested that Alitalia could be used as a subsidiary or perhaps just for long-haul flights. Lufthansa is reportedly keen to acquire ITA and Alitalia to create a long-haul hub at Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport.
Lufthansa and MSC Group did not immediately comment on the news.
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