Apr 14, 2022 - Economy

Benettons move to buy Atlantia

A check mark runway with a plane

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The Benneton family and Blackstone Group offered to buy Italian road and airport operator Atlantia at around a €19 billion equity value.

  • The family already holds a 33% stake in Atlantia, and recently rejected a nonbinding approach from private equity firms GIP and Brookfield Infrastructure that would have spun off the company's toll road concessions.

Why it matters: This would be one of the largest-ever infrastructure buyouts. It also could just be a middling salvo in a billionaire battle, as the GIP/Brookfield bid was backed by Spanish construction tycoon and Real Madrid owner Florentino Pérez, who would have gotten a majority stake of the toll roads business.

Pricing: The €23 per share, all-cash offer represents a 24% premium to where Atlantia shares traded before initial reports of takeover approaches.

The bottom line: "The move to take Atlantia private is part of the Benettons’ plan to reinvent the Rome-based company after the 8 billion-euro sale of its biggest asset, highway manager Autostrade per l’Italia," Bloomberg's Daniele Lepido and Alberto Brambilla wrote. "The Italian government forced Atlantia, which traces its roots back to the late 1990s privatization of Italy’s highway sector, to sell Autostrade in the aftermath of the deadly Genoa bridge collapse in 2018, which killed 43 people."

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