This deal has been in the works for what feels like an eternity but it finally appears to be completed in a transaction worth US$2.35bn.
At a press conference in Rome, the Abu Dhabi-based airline said it was taking a 49% stake in Alitalia for €387.5 million. Etihad will also pay €112.5 for a 75% share in Alitalia Loyalty, which operates MilleMiglia, the airline’s frequent flyer program, and a further €60 million for five pairs of slots at London Heathrow Airport. These will be leased back to Alitalia on an arm’s length basis.
I'm guessing that Etihad got some pretty sweet terms on this deal as Alitalia was on its last legs and projected to be out of cash by this summer. Meanwhile, Etihad is building up quite a portfolio of investments and ownerships, with stakes in Darwin Airline, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Air Berlin, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, Aer Lingus, and now Alitalia.