British utility Centrica won EU regulatory approval on Friday for its acquisition of North Sea gas company Venture Production, removing a barrier to some shareholders accepting the deal.
Centrica, Britain's largest utility, last month offered $2 billion or 845 pence per share for Venture, which was rejected by management. It later extended the deadline for the offer to be accepted to August 28. As the combined market share of the parties would remain moderate in the markets for the exploration and production of natural gas and crude oil, the transaction would not give rise to any horizontal competition concerns, the European Union executive said in a statement.
Centrica wants Venture's reserves, which are mainly of gas, to reduce its reliance on volatile wholesale gas markets for supplies to meet its customers' needs.
Venture on Friday urged shareholders to reject the offer from Centrica, saying it substantially undervalued the company and it should get a higher price.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by David Holmes)