Germany's largest utilities are set to move closer together after striking a deal for Eon to acquire RWE's share in Innogy with RWE taking a significant stake in Eon in return.
Should the prospective deal go ahead - the acquisition still needs to be approved by European Union regulators and the companies' respective boards - it would represent a significant shift for both organisations and the German energy sector more generally.
For its part, Eon will emerge with the retail and network businesses of Innogy, and will also acquire the same unit from RWE.
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Germany's energy market has been rapidly transformed since Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a phase-out of nuclear power after Japan's 2011 Fukushima disaster. RWE kept 76.8 percent of Innogy after the 2016 carve-out.
EON has spun off its fossil fuel operations and invested heavily in renewables, while RWE remains the biggest power producer.
A source involved in the deal said it would be slightly more beneficial to E.ON, which would become a bigger regulated business by adding more networks, while RWE would end up owning interests in the riskier and more competitive renewables sector. Uwe Tigges, chief executive officer at innogy, said it would be commenting on announcements from RWE and E.On "in due course".
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Following completion of the transaction, RWE would combine ownership of the renewables businesses of Eon and innogy, creating a leading European utility for renewables with a diversified portfolio of renewable and conventional generation assets.
"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".
Through the deal RWE would secure a 16.67% stake in E.on.
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The transaction is slated to be enacted in several steps and is subject to regulatory and board approvals.
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