Sempra Energy bids $9.45B for Oncor, topping Buffett offer

22 August, 2017, 01:09 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Five Texas Stakeholder Groups Reach Agreement in Berkshire Hathaway Energy's Acquisition of Oncor

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 issued a statement last week saying it had no plans to raise its offer for Oncor.

In July, the energy unit of Berkshire Hathaway agreed to buy Oncor for $9 billion, but the deal ran into trouble after Energy Future's biggest creditor Elliott Management Corp opposed the sale arguing it undervalued Oncor.

Last week, the hedge fund appeared to have found a way to stymie Berkshire's bid by acquiring a particular class of Energy Future's debt that effectively let it veto Mr. Buffett's offer.

Sempra's deal for Energy Future Holdings Corp., which owns 80 percent of Oncor, is valued at about $18.8 billion including debt, the San Diego-based company said in a statement dated August 20. 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. Sempra said it has received financing commitments from RBC Capital Markets and Morgan Stanley, with Sempra expected to hold about 60% of the reorganized company.

The company took part in a leverage buyout in 2007 and when energy prices started falling, the company's fortunes went downhill.The company filed for bankruptcy in April 2014, citing $40 billion in debt. Buffett is known for avoiding bidding wars.

Energy Future's board favored Sempra's bid after it also offered assurances it could get its acquisition of Oncor approved by Public Utility Commission of Texas, as well as a USA bankruptcy judge, the sources said.

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Dallas-based Oncor serves nearly 10 million customers and operates more than 170,590 kilometres of distribution lines. Both will serve on Oncor's board. Energy Future's earlier efforts to sell the firm have failed.

"It is important for Oncor to remain financially strong", Reed said.

Sempra said Oncor's board will retain its existing independence.

Oncor services about 10 million customers in Texas and employs about 3,700 people. Allen Nye, now Oncor's general counsel, would be named the utility's CEO, according to a press release.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.


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