According to a report from Italian daily Il Foglio, Lufthansa has agreed to purchase a 40% stake in ITA Airways in a deal that could be officially announced next week.
ITA Airways re-commenced operations on October 15 with nearly 2,300 employees with a fleet size half the size of that operated by Alitalia.
While the report did not put a price to the potential deal, it did say that the two companies were very close to agreeing over some key terms, including the role of Rome’s Fiumicino airport as a hub for direct flights to Africa and some routes to the Americas.
According to ITA’s spokesperson, the airline’s top management would present a strategic plan to the company’s board on January 31 while adding, a data room would be opened in the following days allowing a potential bidder or partner to have access to key financial documents to assess the value of the company.
Lufthansa declined comment.
According to sources, ITA was in touch with Lufthansa, British Airways and Delta Air Lines for an equity partnership; formal negotiations could begin by the end of March.
Delta denied plans to invest in ITA.
The German government currently holds 14% of Lufthansa shares following a bailout at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and aims to sell its stake by October 2023 at the latest.
A deal with ITA would be subject to a European Union competition approval.
($1 = 0.8818 euros)