Benettons, Blackstone table offer valuing Atlantia at $63 billion By Reuters
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of infrastructure group Atlantia in Rome, Italy October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo
By Francesca Landini and Valentina Za
MILAN (Reuters) -Italy’s Benetton family and U.S. investment fund Blackstone (NYSE:) have tabled an offer to buy out investors in Atlantia and take the airport and motorway operator private, valuing it at 58 billion euros ($63 billion) including debt.
The bid comes as Atlantia prepares to pocket 8 billion euros from the sale of its Italian motorway unit and draw a line under a political dispute sparked by the 2018 deadly collapse of a motorway bridge run by the group.
In a statement, the two partners said they would offer 23 euros a share, which represents a premium of 36.3% over Atlantia’s share price over the past six months.
The shares closed up 0.8% at 21.89 euros each on Wednesday, having gained roughly a fifth over the past 10 days.
The delisting would open a new chapter for Atlantia after the risk of being stripped of its motorway concession put its business at risk over the past four years, while the death of 43 people in the bridge disaster wrecked its reputation.
The bidders said they would spend up to 12.7 billion euros in cash in the buyout offer, which targets 66.7% of Atlantia’s share capital.
Atlantia had debt of 38.6 billion euros at the end of 2021, a figure which will fall when it completes the motorway unit sale.
Shareholders who tender their shares will still receive a proposed dividend of 0.74 euros a share.
The Benettons and Blackstone said they would “fully support Atlantia’s long-term investment strategy, current business plan and sustainable growth”, adding they would help the group seize investment opportunities in the infrastructure and mobility sectors.
The Benettons, who own 33% of Atlantia, last week said they were in talks with Blackstone after they rejected an approach by investment funds Global Infrastructure Partners and Brookfield to acquire Atlantia and hand its motorway concessions to Spain’s Florentino Perez.
The Benettons’ holding company Edizione, which has been led by scion Alessandro Benetton since January, will have 65% of the investment vehicle launching the offer on Atlantia, with the U.S. firm holding the rest.
Italian banking foundation CRT, a long-time investor in Atlantia, has already agreed to tender its 4.5% stake under the offer, the bidders said.
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:), Mediobanca (OTC:), Bank of America (NYSE:), JPMorgan (NYSE:), UBS, UniCredit are acting as financial advisers for the Benettons and Blackstone. Gatti Pavesi Bianchi Ludovici, Legance, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP are legal advisers.
($1 = 0.9164 euros)