LONDON (Brand Republic) – Directors at UK utilities group Hyder have given the thumbs-up to a £526m takeover bid from US group Western Power Distribution.
The news comes after the same management team approved an earlier £495m deal from Japanese bank Nomura and a promise from Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers that he would not refer a bid from WPD to the Competition Commission.
Nomura said it was considering whether to top WPD’s bid and has until the end of the week to make an offer. Hyder put itself up for sale after a pricing review left it struggling to service its £1.9bn debt.
WPD’s proposed deal is the latest in a series of consolidating moves within the UK utilities sector. British Energy has pulled out of the domestic electricity and gas supply markets after selling Wales-based Swalec to Scottish & Southern Energy for £210m.
The purchase makes Scottish & Southern the second largest electricity supplier in the UK, adding 850,000 new customers to its existing base. The company already owns Scottish Hydro Electric and Southern Electric.
Analysts are now predicting it to make a move for Northern Electric, Seeboard or Yorkshire Electricity –- the last of the small domestic utility players.
British Energy is transferring 400 staff from the Swalec offices and said the deal was enough to cover the cost of its purchase of the Bruce Canadian nuclear power plant.