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AP Photo/Reed Saxon

U.S. private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has approached troubled Italian airline Alitalia about a complete takeover that could keep the company independent, according to the FT. Its restructuring plan would include the Italian government — which has been running Alitalia since it entered administration in May — retaining a minority stake and some sort of profit-share with trade unions.

Why it's a big deal: Because Cerberus is going around the formal process, one week after seven suitors submitted binding offers for all or part of the company. Among the bidders were rival air carriers EasyJet and Lufthansa.

Portfolio: Cerberus has past experience with both air carriers (e.g., Air Canada) and commercial aircraft leasing (e.g., AerCap)

FT's James Politi: "Cerberus opted not to submit its own binding offer because it considered the terms of the public tender too restrictive. But the New York-based buyout group had since told Alitalia it was still interested in buying the lossmaking airline if it could be comprehensively restructured... Cerberus has suggested that it would be willing to invest funds worth somewhere in the "low nine-digits", or between €100m and €400m."

Go deeper

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

4 hours ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Changing the inflation conversation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Inflation looks like it’ll run hot for longer than plenty of smart people thought it would. The conversation over just how much more Americans will have to pay for their stuff has taken on a new intensity, as supply problems show few signs of fading.

Why it matters: The rate of price growth has remained consistently strong in recent months — a time that some thought would bring cooling prices after an initial reopening spike. What goes on with prices will influence the decisions made by Congress, the Biden Administration, and the Federal Reserve.