Hydro One Limited and Avista Corp. have jointly announced a definitive merger agreement under which Hydro One will acquire Avista for C$67 (US$53) per share in a C$6.7 billion (US$5.3 billion) all-cash transaction. Together, Hydro One and Avista will create a North American leader in regulated electricity and natural gas business with over C$32.2 billion (US$25.4 billion) in combined assets. The transaction brings together two regulated utilities with more than 230 years of collective operational experience as well as shared corporate cultures and values. The combined entity will safely and reliably serve more than two million retail and industrial customers and hold assets throughout North America including Ontario, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
"This marks a proud moment for Canadian champions as we grow our business into a North American leader," said Mayo Schmidt, President and CEO, Hydro One Limited. "This transaction demonstrates the power and value of the transition into an investor-owned utility, by allowing for healthy expansion into new lines of regulated utility business and new jurisdictions, such as the U.S. Pacific Northwest which is experiencing customer and economic growth."
Hydro One has a uniquely strong track record consolidating electricity utilities. Since the IPO, Hydro One has also delivered on cost savings and efficiencies for shareholders and customers. Through the company's energy conservation programs, Hydro One has helped customers and municipalities save 700 GWh year-to-date.
Over time, non-headcount efficiencies will be realized through collaboration and sharing of best practices on IT, innovation and supply chain purchasing, all of which will further enhance cost savings. No workforce reductions are anticipated as a result of this transaction for either Avista or Hydro One.
Following completion of the transaction, Avista will maintain its existing corporate headquarters in Spokane and will continue to operate as a standalone utility in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. Its management team and employees will remain in place and it will operate with its own Board of Directors representing the interests of the Pacific Northwest and the communities it serves. The combined company's headquarters will be based in Toronto.
Avista employees and retirees will see a continuation of the company essentially as it is today. Customers of both companies will continue to be provided with safe, reliable and high quality energy. Hydro One and Avista customer rates will not be impacted by any of the costs associated with the transaction. The communities Avista serves will continue to benefit from the important philanthropy and economic development that Avista provides.
The transaction was unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies and is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to Avista common shareholder approval and certain regulatory and government approvals and clearances, including approval by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, the Public Utility Commission of Oregon, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, the Public Service Commission of the State of Montana, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, clearance by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and compliance with applicable requirements under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.