The Benetton family, hand in hand with the US fund Blackstone, decided to respond this Thursday to the Spanish group ACS by presenting a takeover bid for the entire Italian infrastructure manager Atlantia. The proposal on the company with interests in highways, airports and the railway sector materialized at 23 euros per share, which represents a disbursement of 12,700 million euros, according to the Benetton and Blackstone alliance. According to estimates of bloomerg, the operation involves valuing the company at 19,000 million euros. The share price is also 20% higher than Wednesday’s close (18.99 euros).
The takeover bid by Benetton and Blackstone comes after last week the plans of ACS, the construction company chaired by Florentino Pérez, to launch a takeover bid together with the GIP and Brookfield funds to take over the majority of the business became known. Atlantia has the majority of the capital of Abertis (50% plus one share), where it shares ownership with ACS, which owns the rest. In turn, Abertis is the great source of income and dividends for Atlantia, since it represents 84% of the gross operating result (ebitda).
Atlantia, which is already 33.1% controlled by the Benetton family, carries a debt of 30,000 million after acquiring 50% of the capital of Abertis, which increases the risk of any operation on the company. The operation is also complex for ACS because the Government of Mario Draghi has veto power over the operation, because the group controls strategic assets in the country such as Aeroporti di Roma (Fiumicino and Ciampino). However, the Benettons have just emerged from a long battle with the Executive after the collapse of the Morandi bridge, west of Genoa, which collapsed in August 2018 killing 43 people. Atlantia also has 48 concessions in 11 countries, three other airports (Nice, Cannes-Mandelieu and Saint Tropez in France) and owns 15% of Getlink, the manager of the tunnels under the English Channel through which the Eurostar passes.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.