Press: Air France-KLM still Alitalia’s preferred bidder

Air France-KLM remains the preferred bidder for the board of struggling state-controlled airline Alitalia, Italian newspapers reported Wednesday. Alitalia’s board Tuesday reviewed non-binding bids presented by top contenders Air France-KLM and smaller domestic rival Air One SpA, but delayed picking a sole bidder to continue talks with until Friday, the same day Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s cabinet is slated to discuss the issue.

Alitalia Chairman Maurizio Prato indicated earlier this month he favored Air France-KLM’s offer.

But pressure from many in the Italian government, which controls Alitalia with a 49.9% stake, to keep the company in Italian hands have already caused Alitalia to postpone a decision that was expected last week.