(Recasts with Italo statement, details)
By Paola Arosio
MILAN, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Global Infrastructure Partners III funds (GIP) has presented an offer to buy railway group Italo, the Italian firm said on Monday.
The infrastructure fund, the owner of London’s Gatwick airport, was ready to pay 1.9 billion euros ($2.4 billion) for the whole railway firm, excluding debt, the railway group said after Reuters reported the bid by GIP.
Italo, which runs high-speed trains in Italy, planned to offer up to 40 percent of its capital in an initial public offering (IPO) in Milan by the end of this month.
The group said it would hold a board meeting on Tuesday to discuss both the bid and the planned listing.
GIP’s offer would allow Italo’s investors to reinvest in the group and buy up to 25 percent in the railway operator. It offered them an option to sell any stakes in coming years.
The infrastructure fund indicated it would keep Italo Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and CEO Flavio Cattaneo in their roles.
Italo said a deal needed to be cleared by the European sector authority.
$1 = 0.8057 euros Writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Edmund Blair