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Hochtief seeks Qatari help in ACS battle – magazine

Qatar has not yet made any decision on whether to seek a stake in Hochtief - magazine.

October 25, 2010 8:45 by

Qatar is in talks to take a stake in Hochtief to help the German builder fend off an unwanted low-ball offer from Spain’s ACS, German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported, citing no sources.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arranged for Hochtief Chief Executive Herbert Luetkestratkoetter to be introduced to Qatar’s economy minister at a recent reception hosted by Germany’s President Christian Wulff, the magazine said on Sunday.

A Hochtief spokeswoman said the report was speculative but confirmed that the CEO had met the Qatari minister at the event.

A spokeswoman for the German government said Hochtief was discussed at the event but declined to say who had been part of the talks.

According to Der Spiegel, Qatar has not yet made any decision on whether to seek a stake in Hochtief. No one in Qatar’s government was immediately available for comment.

ACS, headed by Real Madrid soccer club President Florentino Perez, has said it will offer Hochtief shareholders eight ACS shares for every five Hochtief shares they own, valuing the German builder at about 3.7 billion euros ($5.2 billion). ($1.02 billion) to get a majority stake in Hochtief.

Luetkestratkoetter has said the offer is hostile and offers no value for Hochtief, which has a market vaoue of 4.4 billion euros. Hochtief has hired Credit Suisse , Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank to work out a defence 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. Meanwhile, a German cabinet source has told Reuters Berlin is considering tightening its takeover laws in view of ACS’s acquisition attempt.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan, Anneli Palmen, Andreas Rinke and Regan Doherty; Editing by David Cowell)

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