There are several ways a deal between Accor and the French government could work.
The French hotel giant AccorHotels confirms it has expressed an interest in buying a minority stake in Air France-KLM, which could evolve into a major transformation for the airline group.
Accor is looking at buying some or all of the French government’s 14.3% stake, a move that follows the resignation last month of Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac after losing an employee vote over a new pay proposal.
AccorHotels is studying the stake so as to better compete with travel packages offered by online rivals such as Expedia and Booking.com, Reuters reports.
A sale could also help the airline push through painful and politically difficult reforms.
It is not the first time AccorHotels, which has more than 4,000 hotels in brands from the budget Ibis up to the luxury Sofitel, has held talks with Air France KLM on joint projects.
“AccorHotels confirms having resumed its reflections on the matter, being at a very early stage of assessing the feasibility and potential terms and conditions which will be discussed with Air France KLM in due time,” AccorHotels said.
“There is no certainty that these initiatives will lead to any agreement nor any form of implementation”.
The newspaper Les Echos reported on Sunday that the French government was considering selling its stake and had received interest from AccorHotels.
The government is studying three options, the article said – to sell the whole stake to AccorHotels; a partial sale where it would retain some influence; or swap the shares for a stake in AccorHotels.