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Alitalia Contacted by New Interested Investors

A group of investors interested in buying a stake in the struggling Alitalia have requested a meeting to discuss terms, the airline said in a statement.

The airline issued the statement late Tuesday at the request of Italy's market regulator, Consob, after Antonio Baldassarre, a former chairman of state-owned TV RAI, said he was advising a group of financiers and entrepreneurs interested in the airline.

Alitalia said it had been contacted by phone by a group of unidentified entrepreneurs interested in buying shares owned by the government. A meeting could be held by the end of August or beginning of September, the airline said.

The government's auction to sell a controlling stake in the airline failed in July after bidders pulled out one by one complaining that the terms were too onerous.

The government says it still wants to shed its 49.9% stake but has handed responsibility for finding a buyer to Alitalia's management.

Alitalia shares were trading up 2.2% on the Milan stock exchange.