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UAE/Italy: Etihad, Alitalia approach end to long-winded merger talks

 |  June 2, 2014

United Arab Emirates-based airline Etihad has reportedly confirmed Sunday it is close to reaching a final agreement with Italian peer Alitalia for a merger deal.

The companies issued a joint statement early this week to announce Etihad’s plans to submit a formal letter to Alitalia’s board of directors in only a matter of days. Reports say Etihad is looking to acquire up to 49 percent of the Italian company, recently plagued by financial losses.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not discussed by either company, however. Some reports speculated a buyout value of about $760 million.

Alitalia, which received a $682 million government bailout last year, is said to be more than $1 billion in debt. Restructuring that debt is rumored to be the top priority for Etihad in its negotiations with Alitalia.

The two firms had been negotiating a possible merger for about five months.

Full content: NYTimes

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