Bafin probes role of ACS and Hochtief shareholder

GERMANY’S financial watchdog is investigating the role of a key ACS and Hochtief shareholder in the latest twist to the Spanish builder’s unconventional takeover bid.

Southeastern, the US fund manager, holds stakes in both the German and Spanish construction groups. Its decision to tender half its five per cent Hochtief stake to ACS’s all-stock offer was critical in getting the group over a key 30 per cent threshold.

“We are looking into clues relating to Southeastern Asset Management,” said a spokeswoman for financial markets regulator Bafin.

Southeastern revealed it had been approached by the financial regulator but said there was no allegation of wrongdoing. The US investor has denied any suggestion it worked with ACS during the bid, and a spokesperson for ACS said it had not collaborated with shareholders during its bid, and had complied with German law.

Bafin said it did not see ACS’s bid for Hochtief being declared void “in its entirety” in the foreseeable future, but said it was uncertain when the investigation would be concluded.