According to the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, Alitalia is set to be acquired by Air France - KLM this summer. Merger talks are in an advanced stadium, states the source. The French-Dutch carrier already holds a stake in Alitalia, but now wants to take full ownership of the company.
KLM's Peter Hartman denied the reports, stating that an acquisition is 'not at hand at present time', but that 'strategically, we cannot rule out anything'. Air France - KLM offered 2,5 billion Euros for Alitalia back in 2008. The deal was blocked by Silvio Berlusconi, who wanted to keep the company from falling into foreign hands. Fears of large reorganisations also existed within the trade unions.
Air France - KLM purchased a 25-percent stake in Alitalia the following year.Today, Il Messaggero reports on a new merger, which is described as being 'imminent'. Alitalia is currently largely owned by a number of Italian investors. The takeover will be paid in Air France - KLM shares, according to the newspaper. Air France - KLM will be offering a 20-percent premium on what shareholders paid in 2008.
In the interim, Alitalia continues to face financially troubling times: the company is said to be losing a million Euros a day. The acquiring company is also feeling the effects of the crisis. Air France is currently in the midst of large reorganisations; KLM was forced to restrict working conditions for their employees to avoid further redundancies.
Written by: Flight-Delayed