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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 20:39 GMT 21:39 UK
Spanish firm buys 10% of Endesa
Businessmen walk past the Spanish electricity company headquarters Endesa in Madrid
Energy takeovers seem as much about politics as they are business
The takeover battle for Spanish energy firm Endesa has taken a new twist, with the news that fellow Spanish firm Acciona has bought a 10% stake.

Acciona, an engineering and building group, has spent 3.9bn euros ($5bn; 2.6bn) or 32 euros a share.

This is higher than the 25.4 euros a share offered for the whole of Endesa by main suitor, German firm E.ON.

Endesa's long-running takeover saga has proved controversial, with Madrid accused of trying to block E.ON's bid.

Although the Spanish government gave E.ON's bid the go ahead back in July, the European Commission told Madrid that it had broken European Union takeover laws.

Brussels was particularly unhappy at Spain imposing 19 conditions ahead of giving approval for E.ON's bid, including the sale of a number of power stations.

With the commission expected to tell Madrid its final ruling on the issue as early as this week, E.ON's takeover offer still has not been completed.

Some analysts see Acciona's move as a means to ensure continuing Spanish representation on Endesa's board in the light of a successful E.ON deal.

Acciona said it had not ruled out further increasing its stake in Endesa, but said it would not go above the 25% level at which it would have to formerly make a bid.

The Spanish government is seen as unwilling to allow its energy companies to fall into foreign hands, even if the buyer is simply from another European Union state.

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