Insights from the UK and beyond
from Global Investing:
The last-minute collapse of the 12 billion pound sale of British Energy to EDF raises the question of how well banks behind the deal were plugged in with major shareholders, who ended up vetoing the acquisition.
Having worked on a sale for months, banks were told by private shareholders EDF's bid of around 775 pence per share was too low. The news clearly left all the parties in disarray.
Such deals are always risky, but the withdrawal of major British Energy shareholders after months of haggling over the price suggests a full-blown row. After all, an indication of where the price was heading had been floating around for at least a week.
A source told Reuters that British Energy shareholder Invesco was involved in the decision. Prudential was another, according to media reports. Merrill Lynch advised EDF, while Rothschild advised British Energy and UBS the British government, a major shareholder in the nuclear generator.
As 16 million people digest the news that their gas bills are going up 35 percent, courtesy of British Gas, blame for the staggering rise is flying thick and fast.
Centrica, the British Gas parent company, says it is unable to resist the sharp rises on world oil and gas markets and that any attempt to impose windfall taxes would crimp its investment programme.