Mergers: Commission approves the proposed acquisition of Abertis by Hochtief

 The European Commission has cleared, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Abertis by Hochtief. Abertis manages and operates toll road infrastructure. Hochtief, ultimately controlled by the ACS Group, is mostly active in the construction sector. The Commission's investigation focused on: i) the market for toll motorway concessions where the activities of ACS Group and Abertis overlap; ii) the market for the construction and maintenance of road infrastructure, since construction remains the core business of Hochtief and the ACS Group; and iii) other markets related to motorway concessions where Abertis is present, namely the distribution of on-board payment equipment, the provision of electronic toll collection systems and the concession of food services on motorway service areas. For all of these markets, the Commission found that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns and the merged entity would still face a number of strong competitors. The Commission also found that the market for toll motorway concessions is a highly regulated bidding market, further preventing the merged entity from weakening competition. Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not endanger competition in any of the markets concerned. A full press release is available in ENDEFRES.

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