Power supplier Enel said Monday it has signed a share swap deal with merchant bank Mediobanca to buy a further 2.98% of sought-after Spanish electricity company Endesa.
The transaction, announced in an Enel statement, would lift the Italian company's stake to 24.99%, the maximum level permitted without triggering a mandatory bid for the whole of Endesa under Spanish law.
Enel's moves to raise its stake in Endesa has endangered German utility E.On's 41 billion euro ($54.24 billion) takeover bid for the Spanish power company.
Enel's Chief Executive Fulvio Conti has described the move as "friendly," but analysts suggested it was a political move aimed at blocking E.On's bid without any industrial benefit. The Italian and Spanish governments have strongly denied they encouraged Enel to buy a stake in Endesa.