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Reports say EDF may raise British Energy bid

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French power group EDF may be ready to raise its Ł11 billion offer for British Energy if the nuclear power group recommends its offer quickly, the Financial Times said.

Citing a person it said was familiar with the situation, the FT said EDF had signaled it intended to walk away from the process if a deal could not be reached by the end of the month. “Either it happens quickly or there will be no deal,” it quoted the person as saying.

EDF has offered over 680 pence per share for British Energy, which is 35% owned by the government and has attracted bidding interest from other potential buyers. The FT said EDF could go over 700 pence if it was confident its offer would be approved by British Energy's board.

British Energy said on Monday offers would have to top 735 pence per share, which would value the group at Ł11.78 billion, for a deal to be struck. The share closed on Thursday at 737 pence.

The FT said EDF had been unsettled by British Energy's announcement that it considered offers it had received as too low. It said EDF felt the 735 pence threshold was too high given the investment and operational risks in renovating British Energy's nuclear power stations.

EDF's share price dropped more than 5% on Thursday as traders cited fears it may increase its offer.

On the same day, Spanish power group Iberdrola ruled out a bid for British Energy. (Reuters)

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