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Mergers & Acquisitions

Spain's ACS takes majority stake in Hochtief

The nine-month saga of ACS's attempts to take over rival German construction firm Hochtief has come to an end, with officials announcing the Spanish group had upped its stake in Hochtief to above 50 percent.

Hochtief building

Hochtief hopes to turn a first-quarter loss into profit this year

Spanish construction group ACS has secured a majority stake in Hochtief, completing a nine-month-long takeover bid that has angered executives at the German building firm, Hochtief officials said Friday.

ACS, which has for years been the biggest shareholder in Hochtief, now holds 50.16 percent of voting rights in the company, up from a 43 percent.

The Spanish firm announced the takeover bid last year to the ire of their German rivals.

Fearing that the Spaniards would sell off some of its units, Hochtief tried unsuccessfully to avoid the acquisition by issuing stock to Qatar Holding, thereby diluting ACS's share.

Florentino Perez, CEO of ACS and president of the Real Madrid soccer team, tried to assuage Hochtief's concerns, saying that ACS could help Hochtief become more profitable. ACS carries a heavy debt burden, while Hochtief's balance sheet is debt free.

Still, Hochtief posted losses of 169.5 million euros ($215 million) in the first quarter of 2011. It expects to report a profit of 288 million euros by the end of the year.

The battle for power led to the resignation of Hochtief's CEO, Herbert Lütkestratkötter, who was a primary opponent of the takeover.

Author: Andrew Bowen (dpa, dapd)
Editor: Kyle James

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