ITA aircraft landing in Los Angeles
Photo: Jae C Hong/AP
Lufthansa and the Italian government want to negotiate about the German airline joining the Italian state airline ITA Airways.
The Treasury has signed a letter of intent with Lufthansa to sell a minority stake, the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance explained.
The declaration, also signed by ITA Airways, paves the way for bilateral talks.
"The parties will now start negotiations about the structure of a possible participation," Lufthansa said.
Confidentiality was agreed on the details of the content.
Negotiations until Easter
Lufthansa's planned entry into ITA has been an issue for a long time.
The basics of the content of the current bid had already leaked out beforehand.
Lufthansa announced last week that it initially wanted to buy a minority stake with the option of later taking over the airline entirely under certain conditions.
According to insiders, it is about a 40 percent share, for which Lufthansa wants to pay 200 to 300 million euros.
The negotiations could be completed by Easter, a person familiar with the process told Reuters.
According to a government decree passed in December, for example, Lufthansa must agree to strengthen the Rome-Fiumicino hub and expand ITA's long-haul business.
Not the first takeover attempt
The ITA started in October 2021 as a significantly smaller and debt-free successor to Alitalia, which finally had to give up despite large government aid in the corona crisis.
ITA has only flown losses since the beginning and also had to be supported by the state.
The Lufthansa Group has been trying for years to gain a stronger foothold in the important market south of the Alps.
A takeover of Alitalia was considered several times.
Ultimately, the Italian state repeatedly rescued the airline, which had since been privatized, with large financial injections, until the corona pandemic finally made a rescue impossible.