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(Adds clarification of approval in second paragraph.)
By Nathan Allen
The Spanish government has given the green light for Atlantia SpA (ATL.MI) to proceed with its takeover bid for Abertis Infraestructuras SA (ABE.MC), spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said at a press conference Friday.
The approval doesn't include Abertis's stake in satellite-operator Hispasat, which Spain considers to be critical national infrastructure, and is subject to separate approval by the ministry of energy.
Atlantia's bid, which values Abertis at 16.3 billion euros ($20.26 billion), received approval from the Spanish market regulator, the CNMV, in October.
However, the Spanish ministry of public works and ministry of energy later said that Atlantia was legally obliged to seek their approval separately, and that the CNMV shouldn't have approved the deal without its prior consent.
The government has reportedly been pressuring Abertis shareholders to accept a rival EUR18.6 billion bid from Germany's Hochtief AG (HOT.XE), which is owned by Spanish construction company Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA (ACS.MC).
Atlantia has previously said it will consider raising its offer once the Hochtief bid receives approval from Spanish and EU regulators.
Write to Nathan Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 26, 2018 08:59 ET (13:59 GMT)
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