PARIS, Sept. 24 -- French power provider Electricite de France said Wednesday it has agreed to acquire British Energy Group for about $23.2 billion in cash in a deal that would create a powerhouse in nuclear energy.
EDF is already the world's largest nuclear plant operator, running all 58 of France's nuclear reactors. British Energy operates eight nuclear power stations. The combined company would be Britain's largest power company overall as measured by generating capacity -- with 16.5 gigawatts of installed capacity.
The deal comes as European government officials are seeking energy independence and less reliance on oil and coal that contribute to global warming. EDF Chairman Pierre Gadonneix said the deal fulfills his company's "strategic aims of consolidating our leadership in nuclear power globally, and consolidating our development in the UK."
British Energy Chairman Sir Adrian Montague said it will combine British Energy's generating capability with EDF's strength in the supply business.