German utility Uniper has issued a sharply worded response to news that Finnish power group Fortum is on the brink of launching a €8.1bn offer to buy out its biggest shareholder Eon. In the latest sign of a sweeping restructuring in Europe’s power industry, Fortum said on Wednesday it was in “advanced discussions” about buying the 46.7 per cent stake in Uniper owned by Eon, the German power company. However Klaus Schäfer, Uniper chief executive, said in a statement on Wednesday: “This unsolicited offer is clearly not in line with the strategy of Uniper as recently reiterated publicly.” Fortum’s approach comes a year after Eon split itself in two by spinning off a 53 per cent stake in its conventional power business as a new listed company Uniper. Because Eon owns more than 30 per cent of Uniper, Fortum must offer to buy out all of the company’s shareholders under German takeover law.
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