Nomura could be about to bid for Energy Group

Nomura International, the London arm of the Japanese banking giant, last night emerged as the mystery financial buyer which might launch a bid for Energy Group, sparking a takeover battle. As Chris Godsmark, Business Correspondent, reports, it could herald a three-cornered fight for Energy Group, which owns Eastern Electricity.

City sources said Nomura was considering whether to mount a takeover bid for Energy Group, at a price likely to exceed pounds 4bn. If successful, it would be by far the biggest acquisition so far by Nomura, which has netted huge windfalls from buying everything from train leasing companies to pubs in complex financing operations.

A Nomura spokesman declined to comment on the group's intentions last night. However a bid would mark the most audacious move yet by Guy Hands, managing director of its Principal Finance Group, who has pioneered buyouts which back huge loans with bond issues.

In December Nomura netted a pounds 334m profit from the sale of Angel Train Contracts, the privatised rail leasing company which it sold to Royal Bank of Scotland. Over the past year Nomura has completed a string of purchases, paying pounds 700m for betting shop chain William Hill and pounds 1.6bn for some 57,000 houses from the Ministry of Defence.

A three-way bidding war for Energy Group was looking increasingly likely yesterday as Texas Utilities, the Dallas based power supplier, confirmed it was in preliminary talks with the UK company, which also owns Peabody Coal, the largest US coal mining business. Texas Utilities is the largest power supplier in the state and owns a large nuclear power station.

Texas Utilities would join PacifiCorp, another US utility which saw its pounds 3.65bn bid for Energy Group lapse last August after the Government unexpectedly referred the deal to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. The MMC approved PacifiCorp's move in December, but the US company has been waiting for domestic regulators to clear a bid before making a new offer, with a decision expected within a month.

PacifiCorp yesterday revealed that it had spent about $60m (pounds 38m) so far on its bid for Energy Group. PacifiCorp also reported a surge in after- tax profits between October and December to $373.9m, compared with $132.9m the same period the previous year.

Energy Group shares rose a further 4p to 731p yesterday, following a 6 per cent surge on Monday, on speculation that PacifiCorp would need to raise its bid to pounds 4bn. However, Energy Group has made clear that the Oregon-based group has a significant head start over potential rivals if a bidding war develops.

Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

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

Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

Structured Finance

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

SQL Server Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

C#.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone