Air France-KLM is preparing a bid for Alitalia and could link up with investment fund Management & Capitali, which has already been shortlisted by the Italian government, daily Finanza & Mercati said without giving a source.
Air France is keen to enter the bidding process amid speculation that Deutsche Lufthansa AG is ready to join forces with Unicredito Italiano SpA, whose investment bank UBM has also been shortlisted, the newspaper said.
The Italian government holds 49.9 pct of Alitalia and is ready to sell a stake of at least 30.1 pct in the airline.
The five investors or consortia shortlisted by the government are AP Holding SpA, Management & Capitali in concert with Cerberus European Investments LLC, ELQ Investors Ltd and Lefinalc SpA, MatlinPatterson Global Advisers LLC, Texas Pacific Group Europe LLP and UBM.
The bidders must present non-binding offers and a business plan to the government by mid-April, Italian newspaper MF added. They will also have to specify the size of the stake they want to buy.
The government has already said it will focus more on the business plan to relaunch the ailing airline rather than the price offered.