British Energy said yesterday it had received a range of proposals from several parties wishing to make a full offer for the nuclear-power firm.
It did not disclose the names of the companies involved, but said it planned to hold discussions with all the parties over the next few weeks, adding: “The board wishes to stress that each of the proposals requires further development and that the process is therefore likely to continue for a number of weeks.”
British Energy said the proposals included offers above its 725p closing share price on Thursday.
European energy giant EDF is seen as the favourite to land the company, given its experience in running nuclear-power stations in France.
EDF also has extensive operations throughout Europe, with UK arm EDF Energy boasting 5.1million gas and electricity customers.
Spain’s Iberdrola, which owns ScottishPower, and German industrial group RWE are also likely to be in the frame.
Another name in the ring is Scottish Gas owner Centrica, which is thought to be working in partnership with another party – possibly EDF – on a potential deal.
British Energy operates all eight of Britain’s nuclear power stations and should play a major role in the proposed development of the next generation of nuclear power supply.
It said in March it had received takeover approaches, reportedly prompting due diligence interest from five parties. The UK Government is considering the future of its 36% holding in the firm, having sold a 25% stake last year for £2.08billion.
British Energy has 6,000 staff and produces about one-sixth of the UK’s electricity.
Its eight nuclear stations are Dungeness B, Hartlepool, Heysham 1 and 2, Hinkley Point B, Hunterston B, Sizewell B and Torness.