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Feature Article

Utility Mergers: The State of Play

By on Dec. 10, 2018

Avista Corp (NYSE: AVA) closed December 4 at $52 and change, and opened December 6 in the low-40s. The catalyst: While the US market was closed on December 5, the Washington Utilities Commission concluded months of deliberations by rejecting Canadian utility Hydro One Ltd’s (TSX: H, OTC: HRNNF) all-cash takeover offer.

Days earlier, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority triggered selling of Connecticut Water Service (NSDQ: CTWS) and its would-be acquirer SJW Corp (NYSE: SJW) by rejecting their proposed merger. PURA will rehear the case December 14. For a favorable opinion, the companies will need to produce enough new information to demonstrate the merger is in the public interest.

And in late November, Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg rejected an offer for the country’s leading natural gas pipeline company APA Group (ASX: APA, OTC: APAJF) from CK Infrastructure Holdings on “national security” concerns. That was despite the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission OK of the deal in September, and approval of CK’s purchase of Australian utility Duet Group last year.

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