Sempra to buy Oncor for $9.45b

22 August, 2017, 01:15 | Author: Franklin Nunez
  • Reports: Sempra Energy to buy Oncor for $9.45B, beating Buffett

Elliott previously attempted to put its own $9.3 billion bid together for Oncor, but has now told Reuters it is supportive of Sempra's bid. Berkshire Hathaway declined to comment on the development. Hedge fund Elliott Management, which owned a major position in the biggest block of impaired debt at the bankrupt holding company, said the offer undervalued its holdings.

Sempra chairman and president Debra L. Reed said: "With its strong management team and long, distinguished history as Texas' leading electric provider, Oncor is an excellent strategic fit for our portfolio of utility and energy infrastructure businesses".

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Under the terms of the deal, Sempra would pay $9.45 billion in cash and finance the deal with a combination of its own debt and equity, third-party equity and an expected $3 billion in investment-grade debt at the reorganized holding company. We believe our agreement with Energy Future will help ensure that Texas utility customers continue to receive the outstanding electric service they have come to expect from Oncor and provide stability to Oncor's almost 4,000 employees. The company said it would own about 60 percent of Oncor under the deal, which would include financing from megabanks RBC Capital Markets and Morgan Stanley. The conglomerate, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014, is saddled with about $50 billion in debt.

The company runs power and gas utilities in Southern California, Chile and Peru reach to over 32 million customers. But Berkshire Hathaway stood firm on its offer, saying last week that it would not be increasing the bid.

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The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2018, however, it still needs the approval of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of DE, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.

This will be the fourth attempt in the past year to buy Oncor, which provides electricity 10 million Texans. NextEra sought to rework Oncor's ringfencing provisions to give it access to dividends from the regulated utility, but regulators balked at both attempts. It worked, keeping Oncor financially healthy even as Energy Future sank.

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Sempra Energy said it would also commit $7.5 billion over five years to expand and reinforce Oncor's transmission and distribution network. Reed said the purchase "will help ensure that Texas utility customers continue to receive outstanding electric service". Allen Nye, now Oncor's general counsel, will succeed Shapard as Oncor CEO.

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