A new twist in the battle for Atlantia. The Benettons, owners of the capital of the Italian giant through Edizione, are trying to add a third ally to the agreement with Black stone, the private equity with which ACS partners in Abertis filed for the Atlantia exemption at €23 per share on 14 April. According to inside sources consulted by La Información, the investment holding company that leads Alessandro Benetton started to explore the market seeks infrastructure fund to acquire airport business transalpine colossus after the completion of the 100% Atlantia takeover bid process.
This is a solid asset, including five airports in Fiumicino and Ciampino in Rome and three air bases on the French Riviera in Nice, Cannes and Saint-Tropez. The airport business contributed 5% operating income of the Italian group in 2021. In particular, Atlantia entered 528 million euros via Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) and others 174 million their Portuguese bases.
This is not the first time the Atlantia Airport business has been sold on the market. In 2017, when the Italian filed a takeover bid for Abertis, eventually joined by ACS, several analyst reports agreed that the Benetton family would have to face an asset sale process that would focus on airports. Instead of, That same year, Atlantia expanded its network by purchasing 29.38% of Aeroporto Guglielmo Marconi.concessionaire operating Bologna airport, for 164.5 million.
The next goal of the Benetton family is find an infrastructure fund specializing in airport management do with these assets. This third investor will come on the scene as part of a spin-off (sale of non-strategic assets) that will follow Edizione and Blackstone’s acquisition of all of Atlantia, according to sources consulted, to focus the company’s efforts in developing the toll road business.
The Atlantia toll roads are exactly what prompted ACS to enter into an exclusive agreement with the Canadian giant. Brookfield and US Foundation IPG acquire an Italian multinational company. With this agreement, the group that presides Florentino Perez sought to buy “most of Atlantia’s highway concession business”, including 50% that do not control Abertis. While his two allies would retain the rest of the assets of the transalpine colossus.
The plans for the ACS came to light when a group led by Florentino Pérez was still working out the details of an agreement with Brookfield and GIP that would give its partners in Abertis plenty of room to counterattack. The Benetton-Blackstone consortium has filed a takeover bid for Atlantia.guarantee the integrity of the company in the face of a hostile proposal”just a week after the Spanish company was forced to reveal its strategy to the market.
The bet goes to 66.9% capital of Atlantia, which Edizione does not control, and the agreed price, €23 per share, values the operation at 45 billion eurosincluding debt, and raises the maximum payout of the Benettons and their American navigator to 12,706 million. This threshold brings the valuation closer to the listing horizon the Italian company maintained in 2019, before the pandemic hit and Atlantia’s recent sale of its 88.06% stake in the toll road subsidiary. Freeway for Italy (SPY) in 2021.
ACS may be forced to play the rebound in Atlantia while waiting for Benetton and Blackstone to ballast to focus on the highway.
Last year, ACS attempted to acquire ASPY without submitting a final offer. A construction company led by the President of Real Madrid was ready to pay 10 billion euros 3,500 kilometers of Autostrade motorways, but in the end, his partners at Abertis chose an offer of 8,000 million presented by the Italian bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and funds Black stone D Macquariestating that they did not trust the “economic viability” of the ACS proposal.
Everything points to ACS to mark distances ahead of increasingly unlikely takeover war across Atlantia. This will be the second opportunity the Spanish group has squandered to consolidate the world leader in highways in Italy in less than a year. Pérez himself said last Friday at the ACS shareholder meeting that the group’s goal remains to “increase the value of the concession business through investment in new infrastructure projects and renewable sources. Whether through Iridium or Abertis. It cannot be ruled out that ACS could bounce back in Atlantiawaiting for the Benettons and their New York ally to decide to give up the ballast.
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