Spain’s leading construction-roads developer contractor ACS is considering bidding for Spanish toll road operator Abertis, S.A., competing against a recent bid by Italy’s Atlantia. ACS notified the Spanish stock market regulator of its consideration, heating up the contest for the takeover of the owner-operator of more than 8,650 km of highway. ACS will need to bid above Atlantia´s Euro 16.3 billion (US$18.5 billion) cash-and-share offer. Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, aims to close the deal by the fourth quarter of 2017.
Reacting to the ACS’s formal notice on July 20, the Spanish stock market regulator, Comision Nacional del Mercado de Valores (CNMV), temporarily halted trading in ACS shares to avoid speculation. Government spokesman Iñigo Mendez de Vigo said that Spain was “following developments very closely.” The Spanish government is empowered to block the transaction if it does not fit Spain’s strategic interests because Abertis runs a satellite company serving official communications.