Benetton Family in Talks With GIC, CRT About Atlantia Bid

Benetton Family in Talks With GIC, CRT About Atlantia Bid

The billionaire Benettons, the biggest shareholders in Italy’s Atlantia SpA, are in talks with the company’s other long-term investors about involving them in the family’s plan to buy out and de-list the infrastructure giant in what could be one of the biggest deals of the year, people familiar with the matter said.

The family’s Edizione Srl holding and Blackstone Group Inc., who’ve joined forces for a full takeover bid on Rome-based Atlantia, are in talks with Singapore sovereign fund GIC Pte and Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino on investing in a new company they plan to set up for the deal, said the people, asking not to be named because the talks are private. The funds are nearing a decision on joining the bid, the people said. GIC and Fondazione CRT own a combined 13% of Atlantia. 

The Benettons, who own 33% of Atlantia, have already rejected a proposed takeover by a group of the world’s biggest infrastructure investors, preferring to pursue a deal with Blackstone and setting the stage for a potentially contentious battle for control of the company.

Atlantia has an enterprise value of almost 64 billion euros ($69.7 billion) including debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, meaning any takeover would be the biggest of the year so far. It would also rank as one of the biggest infrastructure deals of all time. Bloomberg News first reported on the deal last week.

Spokespeople for the Benettons, Blackstone and Fondazione CRT each declined to comment. A representative for GIC was not immediately available for comment. 

Atlantia, which traces its roots to the late 1990s privatization of Italy’s highway sector, now finds itself at a crossroads, as it’s set to receive roughly 8 billion euros from the sale of its Autostrade highway unit. Italy’s government forced Atlantia to sell the business in the aftermath of the deadly 2018 Genoa bridge collapse, which killed 43 people.

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