UK – The Pensions Regulator is keeping mum on whether it has been approached for clearance yet by takeover target BAA or its takeover bidder, the Spanish-based Ferrovial infrastructure group.

“We don’t comment on individual cases,” said a spokesperson for the Regulator. “I can’t tell you anything,” he added when asked to confirm whether either party had approached the regulator.

The Regulator is restricted by law to comment on any cases.

Trustees of BAA’s £1.5bn (€2.7bn) pension fund have started talks with Ferrovial following its £8.75bn hostile cash bid for the UK airport group last Friday.

The scheme has a roughly £175m deficit under FRS17 accounting standards, and approximately 9,000 members.

“There was a preliminary meeting,” BAA pensions chief Eric Hunt told IPE. He declined to comment further.

According to a Ferrovial spokesperson: “We do not comment on confidential meetings.”

BAA trustee director Tony Ward was “not available” for comment this afternoon.

“The only comment is no comment,” one BAA pension employee told IPE.

According to news reports, BAA has already rejected the Ferrovial’s initial bid of 810p per share as too low, hoping to get a better offer. BAA owns Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports.

Trustees’ power to make or break takeover bids has been much in the news recently. Examples include Philip Green’s bid for Marks & Spencer, and private equity firm Permira, which ditched plans to buy book and stationery giant WH Smith after failing to reach an agreement with scheme trustees.