Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing is set to clinch the acquisition of a power distribution business in a deal which would see him control half of Britain’s electricity network, the Sunday Times reported. The octogenarian billionaire is expected to buy the electricity networks put up for sale last year by German energy giant E.ON, the newspaper said.
CKI, Li’s investment arm, is believed to have outbid US utility firm PPL, its last remaining rival in an auction for the business. Li paid 5.8 billion pounds ($9.3 million, 6.8 billion euros) for EDF’s networks arm last year, which provides power in London and southeast England. The addition of E.ON’s business would give him control of 290,000 kilometres of cable supplying electricity to 30 million British homes.
The paper said E.ON could announce the successful bidder as soon as this week, although it added that sources close to the deal warned that while CKI’s bid was the highest, it could fall foul of competition concerns. Britain’s electricity regulator Ofgem has expressed concerns in the past about the loss of competition in the sector.