The deal now requires the approval of the boards of FS and Eurostazioni, followed by the corporate spin-off and subsequent transfer of the shares.

"The sale of this retail business unit is a step forward in our strategy of focusing on infrastructure and transport," says FS CEO Mr Renato Mazzoncini. "Grandi Stazioni Retail is a single entity on the world stage, for both its experience in the management of the largest Italian railway stations and potential commercial expansion in the retail market. We will work with the new owner to enhance even more an asset with such great potential."

The sale of Grandi Stazioni Retail began in November and 17 groups submitted expressions of interest, nine of which presented non-binding offers. Five groups took part in the subsequent stage and four groups submitted binding offers. FS says all of the offers were significantly higher than for similar transactions.