Manweb falls into arms of Scottish

MARY FAGAN

Industrial Correspondent

Scottish Power won the UK's first hostile battle for a regional electricity company yesterday, clinching a pounds 1.13bn takeover bid for Manweb.

The takeover, the largest in the sector so far, was confirmed two hours after the bid closed, when the Scottish group announced it owned, or had acceptances for, more than 60 per cent of Manweb's shares.

The victory came despite the decision by the Prudential Corporation, which owns 8 per cent of Manweb, to throw its weight behind the regional firm's board. About two-thirds of Manweb's small private share holders also refused to sell.

The takeover prompted a renewed warning from the Labour Party that it would consider a wholesale referral of the electricity industry to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Jack Cunningham, Labour's trade and industry spokesman, said the bid should have been referred by Ian Lang, President of the Board of Trade. "Ian Lang's foolish and stubborn refusal to refer the bid to independent scrutiny sets an important precedent. We cannot proceed with the piecemeal restructuring of the electricity industry without an independent examination of whether the public interest is being served," Dr Cunningham said.

Ian Robinson, chief executive of Scottish Power, said he hoped to meet with John Roberts, his counterpart at Manweb, on Monday. "We are delighted to be where we are. We broadly expected to be where we are but it's always better when you get there."

The cost to Scottish Power of the bid battle has been about pounds 36m, including underwriting fees. There is speculation that the takeover frenzy in the sector has already opened a treasure chest worth more than pounds 200m in fees for brokers, public relations advisers and merchant banks.

Mr Robinson declined to comment on rumours that Scottish Power will now turn its attention to yet another regional firm: "Our focus is on Manweb for the forseeable future."

Mr Roberts said: "We are disappointed with the result. We sought to obtain the best value for shareholders and we achieved a higher offer against an uncertain regulatory and political environment." He confirmed that he will meet Scottish Power next week to "ensure the smoothest transition" for Manweb's customers and employees.

Scottish Power's original offer in July was pounds 9.15 cash and pounds 9.45 in cash and shares, but was later increased to pounds 9.90 cash with a cash and share alternative now worth more than pounds 10. Scottish Power's shares rose by 6p yesterday to pounds 3.58 and Manweb's gained 10p to close at pounds 10.05.

The sector is now awaiting a possible second renewed offer by North West Water in its bid for Norweb, in the face of a competing bid from Texas Energy Partners. The Office of Fair Trading yesterday requested an extension until 3 November to deliver its advice to the Government on whether North West's bid should be referred.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect