Germany’s Lufthansa Group and the Geneva-based MSC Group have mounted a joint bid to take a controlling stake in ITA Airways, the successor to Italy’s Alitalia which is currently 100 per cent owned by the Italian government.
In a statement released on Monday evening, ITA Airways confirmed it had received an expression of interest from Lufthansa and MSC Group as part of a joint bid.
ITA Airways has been courting Lufthansa ever since it officially replaced Alitalia in October 2021. Sources had claimed only on Saturday that Lufthansa was looking to acquire a minority 40 per cent stake in the carrier.
“The MSC Group has agreed with Lufthansa its participation in the partnership on terms to be defined during the Due Diligence,” a spokesperson for ITA Airways said on Monday.
“Both the MSC Group and Lufthansa have expressed the wish that the Italian Government maintains a minority stake in the Company. Furthermore, the MSC Group and Lufthansa have requested 90 days of exclusivity to work on this Expression of Interest,” the statement continued.
The MSC Group is otherwise known as the Mediterranean Shipping Company with a global presence in 155 countries. It remains a privately owned company in the hands of the ultra-wealthy Aponte family with a fleet of 600 vessels and 100,000 employees.
It is perhaps best known to the general public for its MSC Cruise division.
The ITA Airways board is set to meet at the end of January where, amongst other things, they will discuss the takeover bid. Executives are also expected to discuss resuscitating the Alitalia brand which was snapped up by ITA for a cool €90 million.
The airline has suggested that Alitalia could be used as a subsidiary or perhaps just for long-haul flights. Lufthansa is said to be keen on acquiring 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.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.