ACS confirms Hochtief stronghold

By Helen Wright03 February 2011

Spanish contractor Actividades de Construcción y Servicios (ACS) said it had reached a 33,5% stake in takeover target Hochtief at the 1 February close of the withdrawal period for its public tender offer.

ACS - which was already a major Hochtief shareholder prior to the tender, owning just under 30% of the company - said it had in total gained a further 3,6% stake in Hochtief as a result of the offer.

Under German law, ACS can now keep buying Hochtief shares in the open market and fulfil its plans for a hostile takeover of the company.

A spokesperson from ACS confirmed that the company's strategy remains to increase its shareholding in Hochtief to just over 50%, allowing it to consolidate the company's results, but still leaving a substantial free float.

The board at Hochtief has fiercely contested the hostile takeover, but was knocked back at every turn. Most recently, the company accused ACS of colluding with a majority shareholder in its takeover attempt but German regulator BaFin said on 27 January that it could find no evidence to support this.

Hochtief did not respond to a request for comment.

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