The Benetton family and the Blackstone fund hope to obtain authorization to launch their takeover bid for the Italian infrastructure company Atlantia in August, financial sources explained to EFE on Tuesday. The Benetton family and Blackstone have already handed over the prospectus for the operation to the Italian regulatory authorities, who have up to 90 days to decide, therefore who wait for the green light arrive at the beginning of August and that the bid is launched in the middle of that month, according to the sources.
The offer can have up to 40 days of adherence period, with which Benetton and Blackstone aspire to complete it by the end of September. the takeover volunteer is subject to 90% adherence and intends to exclude Atlantia from its listing on the Stock Exchange. The takeover of Atlantia will be carried out through a vehicle, which is 65% owned by Edizione – the holding company of Benetton- and 35% Blackstone. Both have offered 23 euros per share (to which a dividend of 0.74 euros will be added) and are targeting 66.9% of Atlantia’s capital that Edizione does not control.
If it prospers, it will be one of the biggest corporate operations of the year, since it values the manager of infrastructures in about 19,000 million euros, excluding the net debt of about 30,000 million. The takeover bid was announced in April, after learning of the non-binding interest in Atlantia by the Spanish construction company ACS, by Florentino Pérez, and from the GIP and Brookfield funds. Atlantia operates in Chile with the Costanera Group, has 48 motorway concessions in 11 countries, five airports in Italy and France, and 15.5% of Getlink, the holding company that manages the Eurotunnel in the English Channel. The Italian company has experienced changes in its Board of Directors in the last month. Administration, with input from Giampiero Massolo as president and Carlo Bertazzo as CEO.
While they wait, the Benettons, owners of the capital of Atlantia through Edizione, try to add a third ally to the agreement with Blackstone. As this newspaper advanced, the ‘investor holding company chaired by Alessandro Benetton has begun to sound out the market in search of an infrastructure fund to acquire the airport business of the transalpine colossus once the takeover bid process for 100% of Atlantia is completed. I know it is a juicy asset that includes five airports, those of Fiumicino and Ciampino, in Rome, and three air bases on the French Côte d’Azur, those of Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez. The airport business contributed 5% of the operating income of the Italian group in 2021. Specifically, Atlantia entered 528 million euros through Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) and another 174 million from its Portuguese bases.
It is not the first time that the sale of the Atlantia airport business has circulated in the market. In 2017, when the Italian launched a takeover bid on Abertis to which ACS ended up adding, several analyst reports agreed that the Benetton family should face a divestment process with the airports in focus. Instead, Atlantia increased its network that same year with the purchase of 29.38% of Aeroporto Guglielmo Marconi, the concessionaire that operates the Bologna airport, for 164.5 million.