Atlanta chairman aims for takeover to be sealed this year

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CERNOBBIO — The acquisition of the Italian infrastructure group Atlantia by the Benetton family and the American fund Blackstone Inc could be finalized by the end of the year, the chairman of Atlantia said on Sunday.

Bidders put forward a 58 billion euro ($57.7 billion) bid in April to privatize the airport and highway operator, but have yet to issue a formal bid pending regulatory authorization.

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“We hope to be able to stick to the schedule we have set ourselves,” Atlanta chairman Giampiero Massolo told Reuters on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti Forum conference in northern Italy.

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The likely scenario was for an offer to be launched in October, with the aim of delisting the company by the end of the year, he added.

He also confirmed that the group was considering a potential investment in Chicago Skyway, a US highway toll operator owned by Canadian pension funds OMERS and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Investment Board.

“It’s an interesting asset,” Massolo said.

Spanish newspaper El Economista reported in June that Abertis planned to bid for a 66.6% stake in Chicago Skyway in a deal that would exceed 2.5 billion euros.

Abertis is a toll road operator controlled by Atlantia and Spanish engineering firm ACS, which is run by Real Madrid football club owner Florentino Perez.

Massolo said relations remained good with ACS and Perez, who had been involved in a rival takeover bid for Atlantia this year. ($1 = 1.0049 euros) (Reporting by Francesco Zecchini Writing by Keith Weir Editing by David Goodman)


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