French waste and water company Veolia hiked its bid for a stake in rival Suez on Wednesday and offered a negotiating window for any subsequent full takeover proposal after its initial approach was rebuffed.
Veolia said it had raised its offer for a 29.9 per cent stake in Suez held by power group Engie to €3.4 billion from €2.9 billion.
The company has been trying to persuade Engie to sell the stake as prelude to launching a full takeover bid for Suez, arguing the two would form a global waste and water champion better equipped to take on rivals, including from China.
But Suez has vehemently rejected the approach, describing it as hostile, and set about creating a foundation for its French water business, which could be a hurdle for any Veolia takeover.
Veolia on Wednesday piled the pressure on Engie to come to a swift decision by saying its new €18 per share offer – up from €15.50 previously – would expire by midnight. – Reuters