Deutsche Lufthansa AG and the German government wrangled for weeks before agreeing on a 9 billion-euro ($10 billion) bailout for the cash-strapped airline. Now one man could bring the deal crashing down.
Heinz Hermann Thiele, a 79-year-old billionaire, has amassed a stake in the carrier of about 15.5%, making him the largest shareholder. While his intentions are unclear, he has expressed dissatisfaction with the rescue plan, saying equity investors deserve better.
The moves put Thiele at the center of Germany’s biggest corporate bailout of the coronavirus era just days before a shareholder vote that the airline has said could fail. Insolvency would be the most likely outcome should investors block the rescue, Lufthansa warned Wednesday. Unions, many investors and proxy advisory firms recommend shareholders back the deal.
“A government-orchestrated bailout is better than insolvency,” said Patrick Schuchter of Union Investment, holder of a 0.12% stake. He plans to