The two-part “Battle for Endesa” case study exposes students to one of the fascinating takeover battles in Europe that had. Over an 18-month period, four different European companies (Gas Natural, E.ON, Acciona, and Enel) from three different countries (Spain, Germany, and Italy) made hostile bids for Endesa, Spain’s leading electricity utility. From the first day to the last, the takeover battle was heavily politicized with multiple regulatory agencies, ministries, European governments, and EU institutions weighing in at different times. The episode also unfolded prominently in the public with journalists in different countries and from different vantage points tracking events. Besides management issues related to corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, competition policy, utility regulation, and public relations, the case touches on issues of sovereignty, national pride, regional cleavages, cultural sentiments, separatism and the debate over market-oriented reforms and cross-border economic integration in Europe.
Since the case has multiple intriguing angles, it lends itself to use in different programs and classroom settings. It was initially developed for use in the Business, Government & Society course in the full-time MBA program at IE Business School and has become a staple of the course. However, the case could equally be used in a course on general management, strategic management, or stakeholder management, or any course dealing with energy, regulated industries, mergers and acquisition, industrial policy, or doing business in Europe.