MSC Group, parent of MSC Cruises, has told the Italian government that it is interested in acquiring a majority stake in ITA Airways.

The acquisition would be made in conjunction with Germany's Lufthansa Group. 

"The MSC Group aims to create a partnership with the Italian government and Lufthansa as the project's industrial partner. Lufthansa has already expressed its interest in taking part in the initiative," an MSC statement reads.

State-owned ITA said that its board of directors would examine the details of the expression of interest in an upcoming meeting. The board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 31, according to Reuters. The companies have requested a 90-day exclusivity deal to work on their on a potential agreement with ITA. 

MSC said that acquiring ITA could activate synergies for both its passenger cruise and commercial shipping businesses. Italian billionaire Gianluigi Aponte founded and owns MSC.

ITA replaced Alitalia as Italy's flag carrier in October. The Lufthansa Group is partially state-owned, with Germany holding a 14.2% stake in the company. 

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