Atlantia Said Poised for Abertis Bid Without Caixa Backing

(Bloomberg) -- Atlantia Spa, the owner of Italy’s biggest toll-road company, is preparing an offer for Spanish competitor Abertis Infraestructuras SA even without final approval of terms from its top investor, Criteria Caixa SA, people familiar with the matter said.

The offer may be announced before stock markets open Monday, said the people, who asked not to be identified before the bid is made public. Caixa, which holds 22.3 percent of Abertis’s stock, isn’t expected to accept the offer immediately, people familiar with the matter have said previously. The offer will be between 16 euros and 17 euros a share, they said. Caixa wants at least 17 euros a share, they said.

Abertis investors, including Caixa, will be offered a combination of cash and shares, people familiar with the matter have said. A representative for Rome-based Atlantia, which is controlled by the Benetton family, declined to comment. Atlantia said in a statement on May 13 that it wouldn’t comment on the eventual price or structure of a possible combination and that it will promptly communicate if its board makes any decision.

Representatives of Barcelona-based Abertis and Caixa had no comment.

Atlantia, which also owns Rome’s two airports, is seeking to boost earnings by acquiring assets outside of its home country as part of Chief Executive Officer Giovanni Castellucci’s strategy to reduce dependence on the market. Castellucci accelerated his plan to bid for Abertis after Bloomberg first reported Atlantia’s interest last month.

Abertis shares closed Friday at 16.45 euros, giving it a market value of 16.3 billion euros ($17.8 billion).