The Benetton family and the Blackstone investment firm launched Thursday a buyout bid for Italian motorway and airport group Atlantia, valuing the company at 48bn euros ($52.4bn) including debt. The family behind the Benetton fashion stores is already Atlantia’s main shareholder, with a 33.1pc stake, and the offer seeks to pre-empt a potential rival bid from Spanish infrastructure group ACS. Under the deal, Atlantia shareholders would get 23 euros per share, along with a 0.74-euro dividend, valuing the group at 19bn euros and making it one of the biggest take-over bids this year. The buyers will have to pay 12.7bn euros for the 66.9pc stake that the Benetton family does not already own, and they would inherit Atlantia’s net debt of 29bn euros. The Benettons — a name more famous for fashion stores — considers Atlantia as a strategic asset. The deal would take the company private, shielding it from hostile takeover bids. The offer aims to “not only to best support Atlantia’s industrial projects” but also to “preserve the integrity of the group and its Italian identity”, Alessandro Benetton, president of Benetton’s holding company, Edizione, said in a statement.