MILAN — U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is in exploratory talks with Italian shipping group MSC for a possible investment in GIP’s railway operator Italo, two Italian newspapers reported on Saturday.
The infrastructure fund bought Italo, which runs the popular Rome-Milan route among others, for around 2 billion euros ($1.94 billion) back in 2018 but talks of a possible sale of the high-speed rail operator have emerged in recent months.
An MSC spokesperson said the company did not comment on media speculation, while GIP did not immediately reply to an email request for comment.
La Stampa newspaper, citing “financial sources,” said GIP was considering the creation of an investment vehicle in which the fund could reinvest half of the resources while the other half would be borne by MSC, controlled by the Aponte family.
The deal would value Italo at 4 billion euros excluding debt, the paper said.
Il Sole 24 Ore also reported news of the talks.
A potential deal could see Italo expand in the freight transport sector, but the feasibility and growth potential of such an endeavor was still being analyzed, the papers added.
Sources have previously told Reuters that GIP was interested in selling Italo, but the plan had been put on hold because of market turbulence on the back of the Ukraine war and the government change in Italy following elections on Sept. 25. ($1 = 1.0289 euros) (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; editing by Clelia Oziel)