Air France-KLM has started its exclusive talks as preferred bidder for Alitalia. It has been given a deadline of eight weeks for the discussions by Italian treasury minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa.
Air France-KLM’s chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta met Alitalia’s head Maurizio Prato in Rome. Spinetta then held talks Alitalia’s trade union representative.
If a deal is reached the shareholding in the new combined airline would have 67.7% in the market, the French government would hold 17.8%, Alitalia’s workers would have 11.5% and the Italian government 3%. But one of the unions involved in the talks said it is possible that the Italian state could end up with a 5% stake as part of
a share-swap deal.
The government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi currently holds 49.9% of the near-bankrupt Italian flag carrier which is predicting a loss this year of 400 million euros.
Air France-KLM’s shares fell following a report in a Milan newspaper that its rival, Italian carrier AirOne, has not given up on the idea of buying Alitalia and it has “the support of five or six heavyweight financiers ready to invest 200 to 250 million euros.”