BAA rebuffs Spanish takeover bid

London
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UK airport operator BAA has rejected a £8.8 billion ($15.45 billion) take-over approach from a consortium led by Spain’s Grupo Ferrovial, worth 810p a share in cash, saying it “does not begin to reflect the true value of BAA’s unique portfolio of airport assets”.

Even though Ferrovial says that it would be willing to increase its offer by “a small increment” in return for BAA agreeing to limited due-diligence access, BAA adds that the “board does not believe it is in shareholders’ interests for it to enter into discussions with Ferrovial”. Ferrovial counters by stating: “It is the strong preference of the consortium to proceed with the transaction on a recommended basis”, indicating that it might make a hostile bid by taking its offer directly to shareholders.

Australia’s Macquarie Bank is also understood to be considering an offer. BAA owns and operates seven UK airports, including the three London hubs of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and has management or retail contracts and stakes in airports in Australia, Hungary, Italy and the USA. ■