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Sempra Energy to buy Oncor for $9.45n

22 August 2017

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.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy, the energy subsidiary of Buffett's conglomerate, said Friday that it had reached an agreement with five stakeholders in Texas, including the staff at the Public Utility Commission of Texas, resolving all outstanding issues in its bid for Oncor. Berkshire did not immediately return requests for comment.

Sempra runs power and gas utilities in Southern California, Chile and Peru that altogether serve more than 32 million consumers, according to the company's website.

Lazard and Morgan Stanley were financial advisors to Sempra Energy and, White & Case LLP, acted as its legal advisor.

Sempra's shares were up 1.2 percent at $117.79 after hitting an all-time high of $118.78 on Monday after the company said the deal would add about 10 million of Oncor's Texas customers to its base and increase its earnings starting next year. Buffett is known for shying away from bidding wars.

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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. Oncor is "an excellent strategic fit" for Sempra's utility and energy infrastructure portfolio.

In May 2016, an $18 billion deal to buy Oncor led by Dallas billionaire Ray Hunt fell apart over regulatory concerns. It had announced rare support from utility commission and consumer groups, and it circulated a document with 44 regulatory commitments that it says parties that might intervene at the utility commission have already agreed to. With Elliott's support, Sempra is likely to get court approval for the deal.

Energy Future was formed a decade ago by KKR & Co., TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners as part of the biggest leveraged buyout in history. Oncor's general counsel, Allen Nye, will become Oncor's CEO.

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

Sempra is the latest to join a line of suitors who've sought to take over Oncor since its parent Energy Future declared bankruptcy in 2014. Buying the notes means Elliott and and Sunrise Partners, which also opposes Berkshire's offer valued at $18.2 billion with debt, own the majority of every class of impaired credit in the holding company, one of the people said.

Sempra Energy to buy Oncor for $9.45n