France and Germany’s Airline Partnerships Will Be Ending Soon, Making Ita Airways Reengage in Talks With Lufthansa
It seems the results of privatizing Italy’s national airline may have failed to produce the privatization process results the old Italian government was hoping for. The new government ended an exclusivity period that had been underway since early August, and prevented US hedge fund Certares from acquiring a majority stake in ITA. Italy’s future flag carrier is still an emerging story. Talks with other companies are reportedly set to resume in the coming weeks, however, Italy’s new government is headed by Georgia Meloni. Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the government is seeking a strong industrial partnership, rather than going back to the drawing board for a purely financial investment. This reopening would also reportedly allow the government to retain 49% of the airline. Meloni wants a say in how the flag carrier is run. After months of negotiations and discussions, the government granted an extension for talks with Certares on September 30th, only to decide shortly after that they would be allowing one month’s more time. As we saw in the end, hopes of a deal within six months were optimistic at best; Meloni wanted to have a say in how ITA Airways was run going forward. ITA Airways’ exclusive period only last a few weeks after a board member took Alfredo Altavilla off of the position as executive chairman and appointed CEO, Fabio Lazzerini to take over negotiations. Sources close to Certares reportedly informed Reuters that Altavilla was the main reason negotiations with ITA stalled. They further explained that ITA had been willing to pay €350 million for a 50% stake plus a share in the carrier. The offer also included a capital increase of about €600 million, which was scheduled to be launched sometime after ITA and Certares closed their deal.