German energy giant E.ON is planning to take over Innogy, the renewables subsidiary of domestic competitor RWE.
This move would transform both companies, giving RWE a combined share in wind power second only to Iberdrola in Europe, and giving E.ON a share of the retail market that could raise antitrust implications in Germany, where the two companies are already dominant players, and in the United Kingdom, where they are two of the six biggest retailers.
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"This looks like an advantageous step for E.ON at first glance", said Thomas Deser, fund manager at Union Investment, which holds shares in E.ON, RWE and Innogy.
But this deal is also an attempt by the energy sector to survive, following the decision of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to phase out its nuclear energy.
"Through the renewable pipeline, RWE, too, should be able to offset its dwindling nuclear and lignite business as well as attract partners for the expansion of its wind business".
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RWE said its plan is to combine the renewables businesses of Innogy and E.on to establish a greener utility with a broadly diversified portfolio of renewable and conventional power generation assets, which would be linked via its existing trading business. It will also mean that RWE will end up with a large stake in Eon. RWE will pay another 1.5 billion euros to E.ON to close a valuation gap that results from the complex structure of the asset swaps.
The deal between the two energy giants has to be approved by the boards of companies as well as regulators - the European Commission and the German Antimonopoly Commission.
The European Commission declined to comment.
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