E.ON, Europe's second largest utility, has won German government approval to buy Ruhrgas for 10.3 billion euros ($10 billion), making it the third-biggest natural gas company in Western Europe.
The acquisition gives E.ON control of more than half of Germany's $20 billion gas market. The purchase is the second biggest in the European gas industry after National Grid Group's $18 billion takeover of Lattice Group.
“With this decision we have succeeded in fulfilling the economic advantages of the merger on the international market,” Deputy Economics Minister Alfred Tacke said. “Ruhrgas had previously been very limited in its ability to grow further.”
To soothe criticism the purchase will crush competition, the government asked E.ON and Ruhrgas to sell stakes in five gas companies. Agreements by BP, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch/Shell Group to sell their Ruhrgas stakes to E.ON will allow those companies to expand independently in Germany, Tacke said. ©