CVC Plans $16 Billion Bid For Abertis

British buyout shop CVC Capital Partners is putting together a 12 billion euro ($16 billion) bid for Spanish toll-road operator Abertis, Reuters reported, citing a story in The Sunday Times. CVC bought a 15.5% stake in the company in August, and had this summer attempted a three-way takeover deal involving Spanish builder ACS and bank La Caixa, Reuters said. That deal fell apart in July.

(Reuters) – British private equity group CVC [CVC.UL] is putting together a 12 billion euros ($16 billion) takeover bid for Spanish infrastructure company Abertis , The Sunday Times reported without citing sources.

CVC Capital Partners bought a 15.5 percent stake — for 1.7 billion euros — in the toll-road operator in August from Spanish builder ACS, which retained an indirect holding of 10.28 percent.

An earlier three-way deal involving CVC, ACS and savings bank La Caixa, which controls a 28 percent stake in Abertis, to launch a debt-funded buyout fell apart in July after banks baulked at the 5 billion euros of credit required.

La Caixa said when the CVC-ACS deal was agreed that it would remain a core shareholder in Abertis.

Discussion on financing had resumed, and CVC was expected to make an approach in January, The Sunday Times said.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that CVC had been working on the debt since its previous bid failed in the summer, and it would launch a new bid when it had the financing in place.

CVC needs Abertis to be unlisted in order for it to work as a private equity investment and to transfer a stake to its infrastructure fund, according to the source, but another source with knowledge of the plans said a deal did not appear imminent.

CVC, Abertis, La Caixa and ACS all declined to comment on the report.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle and Greg Roumeliotis; Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Mike Nesbit) ($1=.7513 euros)