Belfast entrepreneur behind audacious bid to acquire SSE’s household supply division
14th August 2019 | Residential Energy
Ovo Energy is behind a multi-million pound deal to buy the electricity and gas supply business of power firm SSE. A Northern Ireland entrepreneur is behind the audacious multi-million pound deal to by the electricity and gas supply business of power giant SSE. Belfast-born Stephen Fitzpatrick, a former City trader, is founder and chief executive of Bristol-based Ovo Energy, which is understood to be in “advanced talks” to acquire SSE’s struggling household supply division.
According to the Times, energy challenger Ovo plans to pay £250 million upfront to SSE, with the promise of further payments. A deal would add SSE’s 5.7 million domestic accounts to Ovo’s 1.5 million putting it second in the UK by customer-base only to British Gas. SSE confirmed that talks with Ovo were ongoing, but said no final decisions have been taken.
SSE’s household division
Fitzpatrick (41), who was educated at Our Lady and St Patrick’s College in Belfast before graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a masters in finance and business, established Ovo in 2009 with £350,000 which he’d saved up, and he still owns a majority stake. Last accounts reveal that the firm’s profits in 2017 dipped to £6m from £23.8m the year before.
The deal with SSE would represent a significant coup for Ovo, which earlier this year saw Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Corporation acquire a 20 per cent in the business, valuing it at £1bn.
According to The Times, a deal with Ovo would mark the end of the tortuous attempts of SSE boss Alistair Phillips-Davies to offload the division and focus on generating and distributing energy.
Profits at its supply arm plunged from £260m to £84m last year. SSE tried to merge the division, which employs 9,000 staff, with Npower last year, but the deal fell apart amid concerns about the impact of the energy price cap.
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