Benetton and Blackstone Seek Italian Government Green Light for Atlantia Bid | Investment News


By Giuseppe Fonte and Francesca Landini

ROME (Reuters) – The Benetton family and U.S. investment fund Blackstone have notified the Italian government of their takeover bid for Atlantia in order to get the green light from Rome ahead of its launch, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

Rome has special anti-takeover “golden powers” that it can use to protect strategic assets, such as airports and digital infrastructure, in the event of a change in ownership structure.

The offer, which values ​​Atlantia at 58 billion euros ($60.4 billion) including debt, was filed with the government last week, one of the sources told Reuters.

The source said the decision came around the same time the two suitors filed the offer prospectus with Consob, Bank of Italy and Bank of Spain, in order to obtain the authorization to launch the offer on the Milan Stock Exchange.

Last week, three sources told Reuters that the bidders would likely launch their official bid in the second half of August or in September.

A renaming of the bid’s investment vehicle after protests by victims of the 2018 Genoa bridge disaster is not expected to slow down the approval process, the source said.

Italy’s infrastructure minister last week said it was “too early to say” whether the government would exercise its special veto over the deal, adding that the government wanted to see the overall plan before taking a decision.

In the case of Atlantia, the golden credentials apply to the group’s Aeroporti di Roma unit, which operates Italy’s busiest airport, Rome Fiumicino, and the Telepass digital toll payment unit. , which manages the traffic data and bank accounts of its customers.

The offer can already count on the support of the Benetton Edizione family holding company, which owns 33% of Atlantia, and the Italian banking foundation CRT, which owns 4.5% of the infrastructure group.

Atlantia announced Thursday that it has chosen BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley to advise it on the offer.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte in Rome, Francesca Landini in Milan; Editing by Keith Weir)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.


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