Deutsche Lufthansa AG is aiming to acquire a stake in the Italian national carrier ITA Airways (Italia Trasporto Aereo S.p.A.). The plan is to agree on the initial acquisition of a minority stake as well as on options to purchase the remaining shares at a later date.
On Wednesday, January 18, the company submitted an offer to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this respect. Contingent on both parties signing this MoU, further negotiations and discussions would be conducted 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.
For Lufthansa Group, Italy is the most important market outside of its home markets and the U.S. Italy’s importance for both business and private travel lies in its strong export-oriented economy and status as one of Europe’s top vacation spots.
The group first showed interest in acquiring at least a portion of the state-run airline in early 2022, then proposed with Swiss-Italian shipping company MSC Group. The airline made its debut only several months prior, following the folding of Alitalia.
Another major airline group—Air France-KLM—also reportedly showed interest in acquiring a stake in ITA but, according to Simple Flying, the group won’t be pursuing a deal after Lufthansa Group’s bid for 40 percent of the airline. The Italian government was previously in exclusive talks with a group made up of Air France-KLM, Delta Air Lines and Centares to acquire the airline but a deal was never reached.