Alitalia Receives Bids—and a Surprise

Serious bidders for Italy's Alitalia are being asked to present turn-around plans for the struggling carrier by the end of March, Reuters reported on Friday. The Italian government is expecting binding offers by the end of May, said Reuters, quoting a government source. Italy has received 11 bids for Alitalia, one of which was discovered to be a joke gone too far. Frustrated by the mismanagement of the airline, an Italian high school aviation teacher submitted a fake bid to buy Alitalia. When the treasury ministry announced the expressions of interest, industry watchers were stumped by the third entry, "Fabio Scaccia (individual)." It turns out no one checked Scaccia's credentials and the teacher--who earns $1,500 a month--wound up on the list, which requires bidders to have at least 100 million euros in assets. Other bidders include private investment firms Texas Pacific Group and Management & Capitali, as well as Italian bank UniCredit.

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