Veolia victorious in Suez battle

Mixed messages emerge as fight draws to close.

Veolia has won the fight for Engie’s 29.9% stake in Suez Group in what Suez has described as “a hostile manner and under unprecedented and irregular conditions”.

In a terse press release, Suez added that its “150-year history does not end overnight”.

Veolia had previously announced that it has committed to not filing a hostile takeover of the whole of Suez following acquisition of the Engie stake. Veolia said it had had “constructive discussions” with Suez’s management group – agreeing that any takeover bid of Suez's remaining capital would be friendly, requiring a favourable reception from Suez’s board.

In the last week the race for Engie’s stake stepped up with compatriot giant Ardian making an 11th hour bid, prompting a request for an extension on Veolia’s offer, which expired last night.

Veolia’s €3.4bn offer is at €18 per share, an improvement on its original bid of €15.50, and will see Meridiam acquire Suez’s French water activities.