Air France-KLM and Delta in talks to acquire ITA Airways

Group overcame the consortium between Lufthansa and MSC, which were until then the favorite to take control of the successor to Alitalia

The Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance announced that it was in exclusive negotiations with a consortium formed by Delta Airlines, Air France-KLM and the US fund Certares for the sale of the controlling interest in ITA Airways, the successor of the late Alitalia.

The announcement comes as a surprise as the consortium formed by Lufthansa and the maritime operator MSC had submitted the best offer in the first round of negotiations. Lufthansa and MSC even indicated that they could offer up to €1.4 billion for the ITA.

However, the Italian government was not satisfied with any of the offers and asked the two groups to review the proposals. In the new round, Lufthansa and MSC would have presented a maximum value of 850 to 900 million euros for 80% of ITA.

The details of the offer of the group led by the Certares fund with Delta and Air France-KLM were not disclosed, but they would have been even more restrained, with a proposal around 600 million euros.

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Even so, the Italian government decided to move forward with the negotiations. According to Reuters, the Italian government’s idea now is to sell only 60% and keep 40% of ITA, in addition to having the right to veto on strategic issues.

The Air France-KLM-Delta association has the advantage of having a long relationship with Alitalia, in addition to ITA being a member of the Skyteam alliance.

ITA Airways A350

Created as a solution to the problems of Alitalia, once the country’s flag carrier, ITA Airways debuted in October last year.

It took over just over 50 aircraft from its predecessor, but soon placed an order for 28 new Airbus jets, including the A220, A320neo and A330neo. In addition, the airline leased the A350-900 to be its main long-haul aircraft.