Freshfields advises on €19bn counterbid for Spanish toll road operator Abertis

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has been drafted in by German construction company Hochtief to advise on its €18.6bn (£16.8bn) counterbid for Spanish toll operator Abertis.

Freshfields is fielding a team led by Munich corporate and M&A partner Kai Hasselbach, Frankfurt finance partner Christoph Gleske and Madrid M&A partner Armando Albarran.

The bid is a challenge to Italian toll operator Atlantia’s €16.3bn (£13.8bn) offer made in May. DLA Piper is acting for Atlantia alongside Italian law firm Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners.

Abertis, which runs more than 8,000km of motorways in Europe and America, has retained Spanish law firm Uria Menendez as its adviser for both bids, Legal Week understands.

Hochtief is one of Germany’s largest construction companies but is 72% owned by Spanish construction group ACS.

ACS chief executive Florentino Perez is also the president of Real Madrid football club.

Atlantia is expected to make another bid for Abertis. Atlantia is a holding company that owns Autostrade per l’Italia, which operates more than 5,000km of toll roads around the world.

The bid from Hochtief will now need to win Spanish and international regulatory approval before both bids are formally put to Abertis.

Earlier this month, the board of Abertis discussed moving its head office out of Catalonia as the region’s parliament continues to push for independence from Spain, according to Reuters.

However, in a statement this morning (19 October), the Spanish government said the Catalan president had once again not confirmed whether independence had been declared. Previously, 19 October was the deadline set by Madrid for the region to abandon its independence plans.