Italian company Atlantia and builder ACS have agreed a joint bid valued at €18bn to acquire Spanish toll road operator Abertis Infraestructuras.

For a period of five months, Atlantia and ACS had been locked in a bidding war for the toll road operator.

The Spanish Government was concerned that victory by an Italian company may leave some of the country’s key transport arteries under foreign control.

Atlantia noted that the company’s Board of Directors has voted to approve the joint investment in Abertis with ACS and Hochtief, which is in accordance with the structure of the transaction described previously.

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The investment remains subject to the previously announced conditions and to execution of the agreements concluded.

“The investment remains subject to the previously announced conditions and to execution of the agreements concluded.”

Atlantia CEO Giovanni Castellucci said: “We are excited by the opportunity to work with ACS in Abertis, to maximise the value potential and also at the prospect of creating a global platform from which to enter countries in which Atlantia is not yet present, such as the USA, Canada, Australia and Germany.

“We believe that our acquisition of a stake in Hochtief is not only attractive from an investment viewpoint, but is above all a business opportunity that will see Atlantia and Abertis become global leaders in the development of transport infrastructures.”

Under the agreement, Atlantia will continue to have the right to exercise a call option on part or all of the investment held by Abertis in Cellnex Telecom, within the next ten days, or until 23 March.

Reuters quoted Italian sources as saying that Atlantia and Abertis aim to sign an agreement in the coming days.

Once Abertis falls under joint control of ACS and Atlantia, the business could be broken up, or it could continue to be managed by the two former rival suitors.