(AFP) – Aug 24, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Britain continues to favour a tie-up between British Energy and French energy group EDF, Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said in an interview published Monday.
Speaking to the Financial Times last week while on a visit to Lagos, Wicks said a deal with EDF was "the most sensible option" and added that the government thought "that's the natural link".
He added, however, that while the government was "very intimately involved" in the negotiations, British Energy's future was "very much in its own hands".
Electricite de France, Europe's number one electricity producer, had been widely expected to confirm earlier this month that a deal had been struck to buy British Energy, which operates Britain's power stations, but the deal fell through.
The offer was aimed at the British government's 35.2 percent stake in British Energy -- under takeover rules, any bid for the government stake would trigger an offer for the rest of the group.
Reports said earlier this month that British electricity and gas supplier Centrica may decide to offer 4.0 billion pounds (5.0 billion euros, 7.4 billion dollars), as well as shares, for British Energy to woo the government.
Centrica said earlier this month it was in talks with a "third party", thought to be EDF, regarding a takeover of British Energy, though Centrica has also said it would consider merging with British Energy should it fail to strike a deal with the unidentified "third party".
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