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Buffett's Berkshire to buy Texas power transmitter Oncor

Jul 07 2017 18:45

New York — Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is buying the Texas power transmitter Oncor for $9bn, one of his biggest acquisitions.

Last year, Berkshire completed its biggest acquisition in its history, a $32.36bn deal for aviation parts maker Precision Castparts.

Oncor serves about 10 million people and is the biggest regulated utility in Texas. Its parent company, Energy Future Holdings Corp., entered bankruptcy in 2014 facing more than $40bn in debt after energy prices plunged.

Berkshire Hathaway will acquire a reorganised Energy Future, ultimately leading to the buyout of Oncor, based in Dallas.

It's the third time that that an acquisition attempt has been made for Oncor. In April Texas regulators rejected a proposed $18bn sale of Oncor to NextEra Energy. That price tag included debt, which may also double the enterprise value of the deal that Buffett is attempting to cobble together.

The regulators failed to accept that the NextEra transaction was in the public interest — a requirement for the deal. A buyout attempt last year backed by the Ray Hunt family of Dallas also faltered.

Berkshire Hathaway already has a significant presence in Texas, which includes headquarters for BNSF Railway, Acme Brick, Justin Brands, McLane, Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, Star Furniture, TTI, Charter Brokerage, LiquidPower Specialty Products and Allie Beth Allman & Associates.

The deal, which requires state, federal and bankruptcy court approval, is targeted to close in the fourth quarter.

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