(Bloomberg) — Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s biggest stockholder publicly backed a 9 billion-euro ($10 billion) government bailout, giving the rescue plan a major shot of momentum and boosting the airline’s shares and bonds just before a crunch vote.
With Heinz Hermann Thiele declaring support after days of frenzied speculation about his intentions, the state rescue appears likely to secure the two-thirds backing required at Thursday’s special shareholders meeting. The German billionaire who had earlier criticized the conditions held the votes to single-handedly stop the deal and plunge Europe’s largest airline into turmoil.
A failure of the landmark bailout, which featured the state buying a heavily discounted 20% stake in the airline, would also have been a serious blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to take a more activist approach to managing Germany’s economy.
Thiele eased those concerns by saying he “will vote in favor” of the plan at the meeting, according