* BNP, Credit Suisse, UniCredit, Intesa working on
* Atlantia's bid for Abertis seen in coming days, possibly
By Paola Arosio and Stephen Jewkes
MILAN, May 10 Four banks are putting together a
bridge loan of around 11 billion euros ($12 billion) for
Atlantia's potential takeover bid for Spanish rival
Abertis, a deal that would create Europe's biggest toll
Three sources close to the situation said the banks were BNP
Paribas, Credit Suisse, UniCredit
and Intesa Sanpaolo. The sources said other banks were
likely to be involved at a later stage as the consortium is
expected to syndicate the loan.
Atlantia, controlled by the Benetton family, is expected to
announce its cash-and-share bid for Abertis within days,
possibly as early as Friday when its board meets to approve
first-quarter results, sources have said.
The deal would create a group with a total turnover of 11.5
billion euros, overtaking the motorway and airports business of
France's Vinci, currently Europe's top player. The new
group would also have a combined market value of more than 36
Sources told Reuters on Tuesday the two companies were still
discussing the terms of the deal after Atlantia approached
Abertis with a 16 euro-a-share bid while Abertis's main
shareholder, bank La Caixa, had asked for 17 euros per share.
Both Atlantia and Abertis, which have acknowledged they are
in talks, have declined to comment on the details of a tie-up.
The deal is expected to see the Benettons reducing their
stake in the combined group to around 24 percent from a current
30 percent holding in Atlantia, while La Caixa would end up with
around 10 percent from 22.3 percent in Abertis, other sources
familiar with the deal said.
Atlantia is keen to diversify away from low-growth Italy,
where it now makes 75 percent of its core profits.
A tie-up with Abertis, which gets a third of its core
earnings from France and has extensive operations in Latin
America, would allow the Italian group to generate around 60
percent of core earnings outside its home market, well ahead of
a self-imposed 2020 deadline.
Abertis, in turn, faces the expiration of a series of
concessions at home and has seen industrial partner OHL
exit completely from its capital in January.
The two companies had already come close to a merger in 2006
but opposition from the Italian government blocked the deal.
This time the Rome government is expected to give its blessing
to a tie-up in which an Italian company would take control of a
(Additional reporting by Stefano Bernabei in Rome, Robert Hetz
and Carlos Ruano Navarro in Madrid; Writing by Francesca
Landini; Editing by Jane Merriman)