A leading US investment bank is to be hired to find a buyer for Bulb, the stricken energy company, as it prepares to be placed into formal insolvency proceedings this week.
Sky News understands that Bulb’s administrators-in-waiting are expected to appoint Lazard within days to run an auction of the business.
An executive at one energy supplier said they anticipated “significant” interest in acquiring Bulb once it has been unshackled from hundreds of millions of pounds of financial liabilities.
It has approximately 1.7 million customers, making it the UK’s seventh-biggest supplier and by far the largest of the more than 20 to have collapsed since the start of August.
Lazard had been advising Bulb on fundraising options for several months, and conducted talks with a range of prospective bidders, including Octopus Energy, OVO Energy and Shell Energy Retail.
Some or all of those companies are expected to table fresh offers to buy Bulb out of administration.
The energy company executive said the prospect of taxpayers funding Bulb during the winter months, coupled with the possibility of more normalised wholesale gas prices by next spring, would make Bulb an attractive takeover opportunity.
That raises the prospect of taxpayers funding Bulb for several months until a buyer for its business or assets is finalised, the executive added.
Ofgem, the industry regulator, is lining up Teneo Restructuring as special administrator to Bulb – the first test of a new insolvency regime designed to protect the customers of a large energy company failure.
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