ACS controls over 30% of Hochtief

By Helen Wright04 January 2011

A key milestone has been reached in ACS's tender offer to Hochtief shareholders after the Spanish contractor said it had increased its holding in its takeover target to 30,34%.

At the end of the tender period for its all-share offer, Actividades de Construcción y Servicios (ACS) said it had crossed the key 30% ownership threshold in its hostile takeover of the German construction company.

Under German takeover law, ACS can now 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.

In September, ACS launched its all-share offer for Hochtief, explaining that it actually aimed only to increase its stake to slightly above 50% so that it could consolidate the company on its balance sheet, but still leave a substantial free float.

But Hochtief fought against the hostile takeover bid and urged its shareholders to reject ACS's initial offer as well as a second, sweetened proposal.

The acceptance period for Hochtief shareholders to take up ACS's offer ended on 29 December, 2010. Under German takeover law, an additional two-week acceptance period now follows from 5 January to 18 January, 2011.

ACS said the conditions of the offer, which sees Hochtief shareholders receive nine ACS shares for every five Hochtief shares, would remain unchanged during the additional acceptance period. The bid values the whole of Hochtief at € 4,9 billion.

The news comes after German trade union IG Bau dealt a blow to Hochtief's opposition to the takeover by signing up to key commitments with ACS involving Hochtief's post-takeover management and strategy before the result of the initial tender was made public.

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