Monday, February 4, 2008

Iberdrola Uses Morgan Stanley for Defense, People Say

Iberdrola SA, Spain's second-biggest power producer, hired Morgan Stanley to prepare a defense against a possible takeover, according to two people briefed on the plan.

Morgan Stanley advised Iberdrola, which has a market value of 51.7 billion euros ($77 billion), against the $13 billion bid by Endesa SA in 2000. The firm also helped the Bilbao-based utility repel Gas Natural SDG SA's 26 billion-euro attack in 2003.

Iberdrola jumped 33 percent in Madrid trading from Jan. 23 through last week after newspaper Cinco Dias reported Electricite de France SA was preparing a bid and that E.ON AG was planning to buy a stake in the utility. Spain's largest power company, Endesa, was acquired last year by a group including Enel SpA following a 25-month bidding contest.

``Iberdrola has learned from past hostile bid attempts that good defensive planning is half a battle won,'' said Pedro Real de Asua, who helps manage the equivalent of about $8 billion at Barclays Fondos in Madrid, including Iberdrola shares. ``Iberdrola is the only possible takeover target for any company with pan-European ambitions.''

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