Apr 7, 2022 - Economy & Business

Private equity fights for Europe's highways

Hurdles on a road

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Global Infrastructure Partners and Brookfield Infrastructure offered to buy Italian road and airport operator Atlantia (Milan: ATL), in partnership with Spanish construction mogul and Real Madrid owner Florentino Pérez, but the controlling Benetton family may instead work with Blackstone to take the company private.

Why it matters: This could be the year's largest global acquisition, topping current leader Microsoft/Activision, and one of the all-time richest infrastructure deals. It also could become one of the nastiest, were Pérez and his PE pals to go hostile.

By the numbers: Atlantia's market cap closed up past €17 billion on the news, and its enterprise value is estimated to be well above €50 billion.

The bottom line: "Investors continue to pour money into infrastructure, drawn by the stable, recurring returns these assets can generate. GIP is in talks to raise the world’s biggest pool of capital dedicated to the sector ...while Blackstone last year reopened a flagship infrastructure fund to new money." — Bloomberg

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