French power giant EDF has agreed to acquire British Energy Group for £12.5 billion (Dh85.22 billion) in cash, creating a cross-Channel powerhouse in nuclear energy. EDF's bid of 774 pence for every ordinary share of the British nuclear power plant operator amounts to an increase of nine pence per share from its July bid, which was rejected by British Energy. The deal for Britain's biggest electricity producer would create by far Britain's largest power company measured by generating capacity - with 16.5 gigawatts of installed capacity. Hailing the deal as "a major step in EdF's development," EDF Chairman Pierre Gadonneix said it "fulfils EDF's strategic aims of consolidating our leadership in nuclear power globally, and consolidating our development in the UK."
British Energy's two largest shareholders, the British government and investment fund Invesco, have both pledged to tender their shares in the offer. Along with other pledges from British Energy board members, EDF said it has won approval from shareholders representing a total of 45 per cent of British Energy's capital. Also today, Centrica, Britain's largest gas supplier, said it was in talks with EDF about an option for Centrica to take a 25 per cent stake in the company after the EDF-British Energy deal is completed. Centrica said it would be at the same price paid by EDF for British Energy - or 774 pence a share.
In Paris trading today, shares of EDF rose 3.6 per cent to Ę51.95 (Dh354.4) In London, shares of British Energy climbed 5.7 per cent to 765 pence. Shares of Centrica fell 0.5 per cent to 329 pence. * AP