Firms in 3-way deal to create European infrastructure group

Three European infrastructure companies are taking over Spain's Abertis as a joint venture that would bid for big projects worldwide.

The operation is valued at 18.18 billion euros ($22.44 billion). Germany's construction group Hochtief will initially purchase all shares of Abertis at 18.36 euros per share.

Italy's Atlantia and Spain's ACS, which had competed for months over the control of Spain's highway management group with separate takeover bids, will hold 50 and 30 percent in the final holding. According to a statement, Hochtief will keep 20 percent of the final venture, which will remain a Spanish company.

Representatives of Atlantia, ACS, and Hochtief said Thursday that the partnership opens the potential to jointly bid for projects in North America, Australia and Europe valued at 200 billion euros ($247 billion).