Sempra $9.5 bln Oncor fine print bears close read

Posted August 22, 2017

In buying Oncor, which is 80 percent owned by Energy Future Holdings Corp, Sempra Energy will $9.35 billion of the company's debt.

The proposal from Sempra is slated to be discussed at a Monday hearing of the court handling the bankruptcy of Oncor's parent company Energy Future Holdings Corp, the person said.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy said Aug 18 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.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway had agreed earlier in the summer to buy Energy Future for $9bn after two previous attempts to sell the company were blocked by Texas regulators.

"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", said Debra Reed, Sempra chief executive.

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Texas utility regulators this year quashed a NextEra Energy Inc offer valued at US$18.4 billion including debt, after the utility giant refused to accept measures to protect Oncor's credit.

With San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Co.

In 2014 EFH, which was the 2007 product of the largest ever leveraged buyout, filed for bankruptcy after years of struggling against the shale boom, which drove down prices for electricity as well as gas.

Just six weeks ago, Berkshire struck a deal to buy Oncor for $9 billion. But Berkshire Hathaway stood firm on its offer, saying last week that it would not be increasing the bid.

The transaction of the largest power distribution/transmission system in Texas should be accretive beginning next year, Sempra officials said. Both will serve on Oncor's board.

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

The energy company said in a statement when announcing the deal that it "will maintain the existing independence of Oncor's board of directors, which has protected Oncor and its customers during the ongoing Energy Future bankruptcy".

Allen Nye, who is now Oncor's general counsel, will succeed Bob Shapard as the company's CEO.

Oncor services about 10 million customers in Texas and employs about 3,700 people.

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