Way left clear for E.ON as Gas Natural backs out of Endesa bid

The long saga for control of Spain's utility giant Endesa SA appeared to be at an end last night after reports suggested one of the two bidders, Gas Natural SA, will back out next week.

That would leave the way open for the German energy firm E.ON AG to clinch control of the Spanish utility, ending a 17-month battle for Endesa. If the Germans are victorious they will create the biggest energy firm in Europe. Reports in Spain yesterday said Gas Natural would announce they would end their bid after their biggest shareholder said they did not want to inject more cash.

Sources at La Caixa, one of Spain's biggest savings banks, said the Gas Natural bid was "over", according to a report in the Spanish daily El Mundo. And Antoni Brufau, vice-president of Gas Natural, complained it would be impossible to raise their bid from €21.30 per share to €40 in order to beat the German offer because of "lack of information".

He complained that Endesa bosses held 40 meetings with their German counterparts, but Gas Natural had to rely on public information. E.ON offered €34.5 per share for the Spanish company, far outstripping the offer from Gas Natural.

The complicated battle for Endesa began in September 2005 when Gas Natural launched its original bid. But after E.ON launched a rival takeover, it soon became mired in international politics and courtroom battles.

Spain's socialist government became involved when it championed the Gas Natural bid to keep Endesa Spanish-owned. But it was warned by European Commission competition commissioner Neelie Kroes to withdraw a series of 19 measures which it set for the E.ON takeover after they were branded "illegal".

Despite the threat of court action, Madrid told Brussels yesterday it would not withdraw two remaining conditions. Jonathan Todd, EC anti-trust spokesman, said: "The requirement on the Spanish government is to ensure that the measures that we declared illegal were withdrawn by the latest today. If the measures were not withdrawn we would have the option of opening an infringement procedure."

Meanwhile, a court in Madrid this week finally lifted conditions which freed up both contenders for Endesa to launch their bids. But though E.ON is five times the size of Gas Natural, the battle was still open. Last year, Acciona SA, one of Spain's biggest construction companies, bought 21 per cent of the shares in Endesa to keep the company Spanish.

Acciona president, Jose Manuel Entrecanales, denied he was trying to find more shareholders to fend off an E.ON bid.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
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

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world