Lufthansa Group has officially submitted an offer to the Italian government to acquire a minority stake in ITA Airways, it said on January 18. The announcement had been anticipated for some time. Lufthansa officially bids for ITA Airways.
In a statement, Lufthansa says it submitted a plan with the Ministry of Economy and Finance “to agree on the initial acquisition of a minority stake as well as on options to purchase the remaining shares at a later date.”
However, there is still some way to go, as the parties need to agree on a Memorandum of Understanding to negotiate further on an exclusive basis. “These talks would primarily focus on the form of a possible equity investment, the commercial and operational integration of ITA into the Lufthansa Airline Group, as well as resulting synergies. In case of a binding agreement is reached, its implementation would be subject to approval by the relevant authorities.”
According to Italian media, Lufthansa has offered €300 million for a forty percent stake in ITA Airways. The German airline group initially planned to take an eighty percent share together with MSC Group for 1.4 billion, which was reduced later to between €800 and €850 million. But the Swiss shipping group withdraw its participation after the terms of the bidding were amended by the new government.
The Lufthansa bid also means that the offer by a consortium of investor Certares, Air France-KLM, and Delta Air Lines is off. The consortium was selected as the preferred bidder by the previous government to negotiate a final deal, but their role as favorites changed under the new administration. Earlier on Wednesday, Air France-KLM confirmed to Bloomberg that it was no longer interested in bidding for ITA.
Lufthansa now seems to be promoted to the same position as the Certares consortium in August: that of the preferred partner. But that’s no guarantee for success.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.