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EC approves MSC’s 50% stake in Italy’s NTV

The Swiss-based shipping company will control the privately owned Italian operator as the majority shareholder.

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The European Commission has approved the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)’s acquisition of 50% of Italian high-speed operator Italo-NTV. According to the EC, the transaction does not raise any competition concerns.

In October 2023, MSC entered into a binding agreement to acquire 50% of Italo-NTV from Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a US infrastructure investor. GIP and Allianz Group entities will continue to own the remaining 50% of Italo-NTV, and funds will be managed by Allianz Capital Partners and other investors.

Last month, GIP announced that it had agreed to be acquired by BlackRock for $3 billion in cash and 12 million shares of BlackRock’s common stock.

According to MSC group president Diego Aponte, the acquisition of 50% of Italo-NTV reflects MSC’s commitment to Italy and the group’s goal to develop sustainable transport for passengers and cargo further.

Moreover, under the new arrangement based on the proposed transaction notified to the EU Commission, MSC will retain 49.23% of the shares, and Global Investments will have 34.38%. Therefore, the percentage of Italo-NTV shares held by non-EU companies will be 83.61%.

The union between these two groups led the EU antitrust authority to consider that the proposed commercial transaction would not pose problems for the functioning of the internal market or for competition in the sector in which Italo is active.

With this move, MSC strengthens its expansion in the rail sector. Among other operations, it is negotiating with Spain’s Renfe to acquire part of its freight operator, Renfe Mercancías.

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