The auction for EDF Energy's electrical distribution business is expected to heat up after news emerged that Abu Dhabi, which has run the slide rule over the asset in the past, has held talks over a potential £5bn joint bid.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Gulf state's sovereign wealth fund, is understood to have joined the Canadian Pension Plan in a joint bid for the business, which the French energy group put on the block two months ago. Goldman Sachs and Lexicon Partners are understood to be involved in an advisory capacity to the consortium.
EDF, which is majority owned by the French government, revealed in October that it was considering its "ownership options" for the electricity distribution business in the UK. At the time it said it "regularly receives spontaneous expressions of interest". The group, which hired Barclays Capital, Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas to oversee the sale, declined to comment.