Berkshire nudged out of Oncor by Sempra Energy's $9.45-bn bid

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Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett during the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting weekend in Omaha Nebraska on May 7. REUTERS Rick Wilking

Photo Sempra Energy has reached a deal to buy Energy Future Holdings for $9.45 billion.

Bankrupt electric utility Energy Future Holdings Corp. told a DE federal judge Monday that it was dropping its pursuit of a $9 billion merger deal with Berkshire Hathaway in favor of a $9.45 billion offer from California natural gas provider Sempra Energy.

"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", Reed said.

Sempra Energy said it expects the deal to be completed in the first half of 2018 and to add to earnings beginning next year. Including the assumption of Oncor debt, the deal has a transaction value of about $18.8 billion.

"As a result of the transaction, it is anticipated that Oncor's underlying financial strength and credit ratings will improve, " according to a Sempra Energy statement.

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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 US bankruptcy judge, the sources said.

Allen Nye, who is now Oncor's general counsel, will succeed Bob Shapard as the company's CEO. Both will serve on the Oncor board, which will consist of 13 directors, including seven independent directors from Texas, two from existing equity holders and two from the new Sempra Energy-led holding company.

A bankruptcy judge would need to sign off on the Sempra takeover, as would Texas regulators.

Sempra Energy formerly owned and operated 10 power plants in the Texas electric market and now maintains a 200-person office in Houston to support marketing and development activities.

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