Atlantia Is Said Near Approval From Spain for Abertis Bid

  • CNMV’s decision on takeover offer may come as early as Monday
  • Companies including ACS, funds still weighing counterbid

The Benetton family’s Atlantia SpA is close to getting approval from Spain’s stock market regulator for its 16.3 billion-euro ($19.1 billion) takeover bid of Spanish rival Abertis Infraestructuras SA, according to people familiar with the matter.

The regulator may sign off on the prospectus for the Italian company’s bid as soon as Monday, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The decision would pave the way for the Benettons’ quest to create the world’s biggest toll-road operator, while setting the time frame for any potential counteroffer from companies such as ACS Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, the people said.

No final decision has been made and the regulator, known as CNMV, may still delay the approval by a few more days, the people said. The Italian infrastructure company is offering 16.50 euros a share for Abertis. Atlantia has lined up financing banks to boost the offer if needed, the people said.

ACS, the Spanish builder led by Real Madrid football club Chairman Florentino Perez, is in talks with financial investors such as infrastructure funds and private-equity firms about a potential counter-bid for Abertis, people familiar with the matter have said. The Spanish government is seen as favoring a rival bid that could prevent Abertis from falling under foreign ownership, the people said.

Representatives for CNMV, Atlantia and Abertis declined to comment.

The purchase of Abertis by Atlantia would be the largest foreign acquisition by an Italian company since utility Enel SpA bought Spain’s Endesa SA in 2007.

Abertis shares rose 0.3 percent to 17.31 euros at 5:02 p.m. in Madrid.

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