Media speculation over a fresh proposal pushed ScottishPower’s shares upwards, although under UK rules E.ON will not be able to make another bid for six months after the 570 pence per share offer was rejected in November.

The chief executive of E.ON UK, Paul Golby, was quoted in the Scotsman newspaper as saying: Who knows what will happen in six months’ time? The ambition to grow hasn’t gone away. We offered what we thought was a very full and sensible price. They turned it down. We were not prepared to pay more than it was worth.

E.ON insisted that the offer undervalued the business, and were said to be looking for a figure between 600p and 630p a share. In morning trading on January 9, 2006, shares in ScottishPower were trading at 545.5p.