Alitalia had a board meeting a few days ago, regarding the potential sale of the carrier during direct negotiations with potentially interested parties, after the failed open tender earlier this year. The shortlist of six potential buyers was compiled following consultation with Citigroup and industrial adviser Roland Berger.
The list comprises Aeroflot, Air France-KLM, AP Holding (Air One), Cordata Baldassarre, Lufthansa and TPG (formerly Texas Pacific Group). This means four out of the six potential buyers are from the airline industry. Aeroflot and Air One (and TPG) have taken part in the auction process earlier this year, but both withdrew after learning about the actual situation and state of the troubled Italian carrier, and Air France-KLM has expressed their interest some time ago as well. But Lufthansa has not yet previously taken part in any negotiations (at least not publicly). The Italian government wants to sell most of its 49.9% in AZ and asked Chairman Maurizio Prato, who was appointed in July, to identify potential buyers after its own selloff efforts failed.
“The board has resolved to carry out discussions to assess the interest” of the six identified parties, Alitalia said, adding that it intends “to complete such discussions in the shortest possible timeframe.”
Corriere della Sera reported yesterday that AF KLM is seeking to acquire an initial 15%-20% stake in the loss-making airline through a share swap and would consider a full integration only if the Italian flag-carrier’s earnings improve over the next 2-3 years.
Air France-KLM has previously said it would be willing to listen to any proposition Alitalia makes but would not do a deal unless it created value for the airline.
A Lufthansa spokeswoman said a partnership with Alitalia must make sense for both sides, adding the German airline was basically open for possible talks. Knowing how Lufthansa has turned around the troubled Swiss carrier, Swiss International Airlines, it would make sense to repeat the same procedure with Alitalia, but the Italian airline is in a much worse financial crisis and situation these days…
We will keep you posted on the developments