Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

Lufthansa Reaches $350 Million Deal for Italy’s ITA Airways: Report

9 months ago

Lufthansa finally has a deal. For ITA Airways that is, and according to reports.

The Frankfurt-based carrier will initially buy 40 percent of the state-owned Italian airline for $343-354 million (€320-330 million), according to a report by Italian daily Corriere Della Sera. Lufthansa would invest a further $537 million to raise its stake in ITA to up to 95 percent at a later date. A final agreement could be signed as soon as Thursday.

An ITA Airways Airbus A330neo
An ITA Airways Airbus A330-900. (ITA Airways)

The deal is the culmination of years of effort by Lufthansa to buy its way into the Italian market. The German carrier bid for a stake in ITA’s predecessor Alitalia as early as 2008, only to be out maneuvered by Air France-KLM. In the latest round of dealmaking, Lufthansa was counted out last year when a Certares-led consortium of Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines was selected as the preferred bidder. But that deal fell through and Lufthansa was back in the running by December; the group made an official offer in January. Air France-KLM has, meanwhile, shifted its interest to acquiring TAP Air Portugal.

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr has described the group as the “natural home” for ITA. Italy is Lufthansa’s largest market outside of its home markets, which include Austria (Austrian Airlines), Germany (Lufthansa and Eurowings), and Switzerland (Swiss Air). In May, Spohr said ITA’s Rome hub could be an integral southern gateway to Africa and Latin America for the group.

Lufthansa and the Italian government will need to European Union antitrust sign off before any deal for ITA could close.

Airlines

Lufthansa Makes Official Bid for Italy’s ITA Airways

1 year ago

The Lufthansa Group has made an offer to buy a 40 percent stake in Italy’s state-owned ITA Airways, it said Wednesday. The bid comes after a multi-year process, or “beauty contest” as it has been called, to find a strategic partner for ITA, and a dramatic change of fortune for Lufthansa after being counted out last August.

Financial terms of the offer were not made public but Lufthansa said Wednesday that its initial offer for a minority stake includes taking full control of ITA in the future. Italian daily Corriere della Sera has previously estimated the value of the offer to be between $250-260 million (€230-240 million). The German airline group and Italy’s Ministry of Economy and Finance must next agree to a memorandum of understanding, which would allow exclusive negotiations over the final terms of the deal to begin.

The Lufthansa Group has submitted a bid for Italy’s ITA. (Airbus)

“For Lufthansa Group, Italy is the most important market outside of its home markets and the U.S.,” the airline said in a statement. “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.”

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr has previously called the group the “natural home” for ITA.

The bid is a change of fortune for Lufthansa. In August, the previous Italian government selected a bid by private equity firm Certares and including commercial agreements with Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines for ITA. However, the new government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni failed to reach a deal with the Certares-led group before the exclusivity period expired on October 31. Air France-KLM has since shifted its takeover interest to TAP Air Portugal.

ITA replaced Alitalia as Italy’s national carrier in October 2021.