Italy’s CDP, Blackstone, Macquarie Reach Deal on Autostrade

An investor group led by Italian state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA reached an accord with Atlantia SpA to buy its controlling stake in highway manager Autostrade per l’Italia SpA.

The announcement, coming in the wake of approvals of the deal by Atlantia shareholders and the company’s board, brings the Benetton family-controlled infrastructure giant a step closer to closing a years-long battle over control of the unit, fought with successive Italian governments.

The investor group, which also includes Blackstone Infrastructure Partners and Macquarie Asset Management, will buy Atlantia’s 88.06% equity interest in Autostrade through newly established holding company Reti Autostradali. CDP Equity owns a 51% stake in Reti Autostradali, while Blackstone and funds managed by Macquarie have 24.5% each, according to a statement.

The investor group will now “initiate an exploratory dialog with the minority shareholders” of Autostrade, according to the statement. The deal’s closing will be linked to conditions which need to be met by June 2022, Atlantia said Thursday. Completion is not planned before the end of November.

The billionaire Benettons have battled with Rome over the highway unit since the August 2018 Morandi Bridge disaster, when 43 people died in an accident that traumatized the nation and triggered billions of euros in legal claims.

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