Hydro One to buy Avista for $6.7bn: everything you need to know

By Mohammed Mestar

Canadian utility firm Hydro One Ltd is to acquire US rival Avista Corp in an all-cash deal worth $6.7bn. 

The transaction, which is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018, will see the creation of one of the biggest regulated utilities in North America.

It is also set to benefit the Ontario provincial government, which remains the single largest stakeholder in Hydro One following its IPO in 2015.

Here are the key points of the deal:

-    Hydro One will pay $67 for every Avista Corp share.
-    The merger will result in a Hydro One asset pool worth over $32bn.
-    The combined entity will serve over two million retail and industrial customers.
-    Avista will keep its headquarters in Washington and continue to operate as a stand-alone utility in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.
-    Both companies will maintain healthy balance sheets and strong investment-grade credit ratings.
-    No workforce reductions are expected for either company.

"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."

Avista Corporation Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris added: "For Avista, the decision to team up with Hydro One at a time of strength and growth represents a win for our customers, employees, shareholders and the communities we serve. 

"Through this agreement, we have a unique opportunity to secure a partnership that allows us to continue to define and control, to a significant degree, future operations and opportunities in a consolidating industry landscape for the benefit of our customers. 

"In Hydro One, we believe we've found a partner that allows us to preserve our identity and our proud legacy, while also preparing us for the future."

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