Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim launches bid for all of Spain's FCC

MADRID (Reuters) - Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's holding company Inversora Carso GCARSOA1.MX said on Friday it would launch a full takeover bid for Spanish building and infrastructure company FCC FCC.MC at a price of 7.60 euros ($8.36) per share.

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim gestures during a conference at the Seminar "Mexico Siglo XXI" (Mexico XXI Century) organized by Telmex foundation, in Mexico City September 4, 2015. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Inversora Caros, which already owned 27.4 percent of FCC said its stake had increased to 36.6 percent after it bought into a 709.5-million-euro rights issue which ended last week.

Under Spanish law, a shareholder that increases its stake in a company above 30 percent is required to launch an offer for the company.

Slim’s offer price, disclosed in a statement to the Madrid stock market regulator, represents a 15 percent premium to FCC’s closing share price on Friday of 6.59 euros.

Slim, however, is unlikely to gain total ownership of FCC because many shareholders bought shares at a much higher price than the 7.60 euros per share offered and may reject the bid.

Still, with a stake of 36.6 percent or more, and second-biggest shareholder Esther Koplowitz diluting her holdings to around 15 percent, Slim’s influence is set to rise in such a way that he would de facto fully control the company.

Having passed the 30 percent threshold he would also be in a position to keep building up his stake in future without having to make a new bid.

The bid makes financial sense for Slim, who bought his initial stake at an average price of 9.75 euros per share.

FCC, founded 70 years ago by Koplowitz’s father, has been struggling with high debts and sluggish business since a property bubble burst in Spain in 2007.

Shares in the group, which peaked at more than 61 euros per share in 2007, recovered to close to 16 euros two years ago and were worth slightly more than 12 euros when Inversora Carso first invested in the firm at the end of 2014.

Reporting by Angus Berwick and Tomas Gonzalez; Editing by Julien Toyer and Susan Fenton