The French electricity giant is, in one way or another, on the hook for a full E1.2bn. But Fiat and its banks don't get off scotfree.
But Eni may not have changed its mind. Buyingin Italgas may be a prelude to selling off the bits of the firm it doesn t want. Huh? Until now, the Italian energy company s gas strategy had been to exit regulated businesses, such as Italgas.
News that the carmaker may have to flog family jewels, such as insurance unit Toro, suggest things are getting worse. Indeed, Fiat may have to pour millions of euros more into the auto unit if it is going to have a business left to put to GM.
Strategically, the deal makes sense for Eni as Fortum's assets give Eni critical mass in the North Sea. But even after stripping out the net present value of tax loss carryforwards, Eni is paying a very rich price.
Finding fresh money will be a struggle. The market may not be keen to contribute. This leaves Fiat, EdF and the banks playing a game of pass the liability. Who will blink first?
The German bank is considering holding Vivendi to a lockup agreement stopping it selling shares in its Vivendi Environnement affiliate. If Vivendi cannot raise E1.8bn from selling the stake, it will find it harder to finance its battle with Vodafone for control of Cegetel.
The Spanish utility is spending on electric grids as though there is no tomorrow. But is it being too ambitious? The E1.5bn price tag is a punchy oneandahalf times Red Electrica s market capitalisation.
A tieup with Scottish & Southern is such an obvious deal it should have happened by now. So why hasn t it? Regulatory issues are not the real problem. ScottishPower s low share price is. That, plus the two firms traditional hostility.