ACS says Hochtief conditions met
By Helen Wright21 January 2011
Spanish contractor Actividades de Construccion y Servicios (ACS) said it had reached a 31,59% stake in takeover target Hochtief and the final outcome of its public tender offer would be settled at the start of February.
"All completion conditions to the offer have now been fulfilled," ACS said.
The news came after the extended acceptance period for the all-share offer expired on 18 January. ACS offered nine of its shares for every five in German contractor Hochtief.
An ACS spokesperson said the final outcome of the offer was expected to be announced on 3 February, and in the meantime the pledged shares could still be bought back and traded elsewhere.
However, the result of ACS's battle to breach the key 30% threshold looks all but set in stone. Under German takeover law, ACS can now embark on a hostile takeover and keep buying shares on the open market to secure a majority holding of over 50%, without having to make a mandatory bid for the whole of the company.
This approach has been consistently resisted by Hochtief's management board, which rejected both ACS's initial bid and a second, sweetened offer.
But Hochtief's opposition to the deal has been dealt several blows along the way, not least when German regulator BaFin approved the takeover in December, while the European Commission gave the approach the green light earlier this month.
German construction union IG Bau has also indicated its backing for the takeover.
The bitter saga, which began when ACS first approached the company in September, has also seen Hochtief accuse its Spanish suitor of colluding with a majority shareholder - an allegation which both ACS and the shareholder involved, Southeastern Asset Management, strongly refute.
BaFin is investigating the claim.