By Joanne Bladd
German firm courting Gulf state to stave off hostile takeover from Spain's ACS
Qatar is in talks to take a stake in German building conglomerate Hochtief, in order to stave off a hostile takeover bid from Spain’s ACS, German weekly Der Spiegel has reported, quoting unnamed sources.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had arranged a meeting between Hochtief chief executive Herbert Luetkestratkoetter and Qatar's economy minister at a recent dinner at the presidential palace in Berlin, the magazine said.
A Hochtief spokeswoman confirmed that the CEO had met the Qatari minister at the event, but declined to offer any further details.
"Anything else (in the report) is speculation," the spokeswoman was quoted as saying by AFP.
According to Der Spiegel, Qatar has not yet decided whether to pursue a stake in Hochtief.
ACS, Spain’s largest construction company, has said it will offer Hochtief shareholders eight ACS shares for every five Hochtief shares they own, valuing the German builder at about €3.7bn ($5.2bn).
ACS currently holds just under 30 percent of Hochtief stock.
Luetkestratkoetter has said the offer is hostile and offers no value for Hochtief, which has a market value of €4.4bn. Hochtief has hired Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank to work out a defense strategy.
Hochtief and its Australian unit Leighton Holdings of which it owns 54 percent, have already asked Australian regulators to help them fend off ACS's approach.
Germany's Merkel has said she believes Hochtief should remain based in Germany.For all the latest banking and finance news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.