FRENCH energy giant GDF Suez yesterday made a $9.5bn (£5.9bn) offer for the 30 per cent of International Power that it does not already own.
The non binding offer is at 390p a share for the FTSE 100-listed UK firm.
GDF Suez is now required by market regulations to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for International Power or officially walk away.
International Power, which is already 70 per cent owned by the utility company, saw its shares soar more than five per cent on the news. The approach values International Power, including the shares already held by GDF, at £19.9bn.
The move on International Power follows speculation in recent months that the French utility was set to table an offer for the remaining shares
Analysts have said GDF Suez could buy out the outstanding 30 per cent earlier with the agreement of International Power’s independent non-executive directors.
“The proposal is subject to certain pre-conditions and there can be no certainty that an offer will ultimately be forthcoming,” International Power said in a statement.
GDF said the move is supported by the two largest shareholders of GDF Suez, the French state, which owns 36 per cent, and the Belgian investor Albert Frere’s holding Groupe Albert Frere, which owns 5.2 per cent.
GDF is in the middle of a string of disposals worth €10m.
International Power listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2000 and GDF Suez became the majority shareholder in May last year.