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The billionaire Benetton family and Blackstone are nearing a takeover offer for Italian infrastructure giant Atlantia, according to people familiar with the matter. Picture: BLOOMBERG
The billionaire Benetton family and Blackstone are nearing a takeover offer for Italian infrastructure giant Atlantia, according to people familiar with the matter. Picture: BLOOMBERG

The billionaire Benetton family and Blackstone are nearing a takeover offer for Italian infrastructure giant Atlantia in what could become the year’s biggest deal, according to people familiar with the matter.

The family’s Edizione holding company, the US buyout firm and other investors may announce as early as Wednesday their plan to buy out and take private the company, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Atlantia’s minority shareholders, Singapore sovereign fund GIC  and Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino, are expected to invest in a new company that the suitors plan to set up for the deal, the people said. The Benettons already own about 33% of Atlantia.

Representatives for the Benettons, Blackstone and Fondazione CRT declined to comment, while a spokesperson for GIC was not immediately available for comment.

Atlantia has a value of almost €65bn including debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, meaning any takeover would be the biggest of the year so far. It would also rank as one of the biggest infrastructure deals of all time. Bloomberg News first reported on the deal last week.

An offer from the Benettons and Blackstone may spur rival suitors for Atlantia into action. 

Spanish construction tycoon Florentino Perez has been working with Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and Brookfield Asset Management on a bid for Atlantia. Such a move could see Actividades de Construccion y Servicios, the Madrid-based builder of which Perez is both chair and the top shareholder, acquire the majority of Atlantia’s toll road business. Bloomberg News reported Perez’s interest last week.

The Benettons have already said they are not interested in entertaining a GIP-Brookfield offer as they want to keep Atlantia together. 

Atlantia, which traces its roots to the late 1990s privatisation of Italy’s highway sector, now finds itself at a crossroads, as it’s set to receive roughly €8bn from the sale of its Autostrade highway unit. Italy’s government forced Atlantia to sell the business in the aftermath of the deadly 2018 Genoa bridge collapse, which killed 43 people.

Bloomberg
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