Lufthansa has submitted a bid to the Italian government to join the state airline ITA Airways. First, a minority stake is to be acquired and options to purchase the remaining shares are to be agreed at a later date, Lufthansa announced on Wednesday. The company has submitted a declaration of intent to the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. According to insiders, Lufthansa wants to buy a 40 percent stake in the Alitalia successor for 200 to 300 million euros as a first step. Negotiations with the Italian government should be completed in a few weeks. The Italian Ministry of Finance wants to quickly sign a binding letter of intent with Lufthansa, followed by a decision by the state owner to increase capital, according to those familiar with the process. Lufthansa announced that after the signing of the letter of intent, there would have to be further negotiations about the structure of an investment, the commercial and operational integration of ITA into the Lufthansa Airline Group and the resulting synergies. With ITA Airways, Lufthansa, whose group also includes Eurowings, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Swiss, could strengthen its position in its most important European foreign market. The Italian airline could expand its long-haul business. In the longer term, Lufthansa could then become the majority shareholder, because the Italian state is aiming for complete privatization. There was controversy about the influence of the state, which keeps the notoriously loss-making airline alive with financial aid.