German Hochtief unhappy with ACS takeover bid: reports

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Germany's biggest construction group, Hochtief, has not yet replied to a takeover bid by major shareholder ACS, but does not look kindly on the move by its Spanish counterpart, press reports said Friday.

A takeover would make ACS a major player in the global construction sector.

The public offer for Hochtief's stock by the biggest Spanish construction group is "a provocation" for managers of the German group, a source close to the matter told the business daily Handelsblatt.

Hochtief has hired the Swiss bank Credit Suisse to provide advice regarding a defensive strategy, the newspaper added.

"Hochtief can get by very well without ACS," a source close to the company told the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD).

Hochtief has not yet reacted officially to ACS' offer to exchange eight of its own shares for every five owned by Hochtief shareholders, saying only that it will examine the proposal and give a recommendation "in due time."

ACS already owns almost 30 percent of Hochtief's equity and must make an offer for all of the rest if it wants to raise its holding further.

But the bid values Hochtief at less than its current stock market level of 59.45 euros (78 dollars) per share at the close on Thursday, and was given a cool reception on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

The FTD said ACS is not interested in buying all of Hochtief but just wants to obtain a little more than half of the group.

ACS is run by Florentino Perez, who is also president of the Spanish football club Real Madrid.

© 2010 AFP

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