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Endesa tie-up with E.ON nears

Endesa tie-up with E.ON nears
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Spain’s Endesa looks to be heading for a merger with German utility E.ON after a takeover saga that has lasted nearly a year and a half. Spanish rival Gas Natural dropped its bid and claimed E.On was given more detailed information by Endesa to help prepare its offer, but Endesa’s Chairman Manuel Pizarro accused them of being poor losers. “People are as they behave. When I was young, fortunately I had a good education, knowing how to win and how to lose, but I think there are people who don’t know how to win and how to lose,” he said.

Gas Natural started the bidding battle for Endesa in September 2005 and was supported by the Spanish government which favoured a national energy champion. Joan Clos, Spain’s Economy Minister has now promised a hand off policy. He said: “Obviously we have our responsibilities as market regulator and we will continue to do so, therefore we are not going to intervene in this takeover bid.”

The merger would create the world’s largest power group with over 50 million customers in Europe and Latin America. But analysts said E.ON will probably have to raise it bid from the current 36.5 billion euros to persuade a majority of shareholders to accept it.