Wisconsin Energy Corp. and Integrys Energy Group Inc. entered into a definitive agreement under which Wisconsin Energy will acquire Integrys in a transaction valued at $9.1 billion. Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will be named WEC Energy Group Inc.
The combination of Wisconsin Energy and Integrys brings together two strong and well-regarded utility operators with complementary geographic footprints to create a larger, more diverse Midwest electric and natural gas delivery company with the operational expertise, scale and financial resources to meet the region’s future energy needs.
The combined entity is projected to have a regulated rate base of $16.8 billion in 2015, serve more than 4.3 million total gas and electric customers across Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota, and operate nearly 71,000 miles of electric distribution lines and more than 44,000 miles of gas transmission and distribution lines.
The combination brings together Wisconsin Energy’s electric and gas utility — We Energies — and Integrys’ electric and gas utilities — Wisconsin Public Service, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Minnesota Energy Resources and Michigan Gas Utilities.
In addition to expanding and diversifying Wisconsin Energy’s regulated holdings into other large Midwestern states, the combined company will hold a 60 percent stake in American Transmission Co.
Upon completion of the transaction, Gale Klappa, chairman and CEO of Wisconsin Energy, will become chairman and CEO of the combined company. Charlie Schrock, chairman and CEO of Integrys will remain in his current roles with Integrys until the closing of the transaction, when he will retire.
The other senior leadership roles in the combined company will be filled by current senior officers of Wisconsin Energy.
WEC Energy Group will be headquartered in metropolitan Milwaukee with operating headquarters in Chicago, Green Bay and Milwaukee. The new company will honor all existing labor agreements and maintain historic levels of community involvement and charitable contributions.
Under the terms of the transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, Integrys shareholders will receive common stock at a fixed exchange ratio of 1.128 Wisconsin Energy shares plus $18.58 in cash per Integrys share.
Total consideration is valued at $71.47 per Integrys share, with a consideration mix of 74 percent stock and 26 percent cash. This represents a 17.3 percent premium to Integrys’ closing price on June 20, 2014 and a 22.8 percent premium to the volume-weighted average share price over the past 30 trading days ending June 20, 2014. Upon closing of the transaction, Integrys shareholders will own approximately 28 percent of the combined company.
The proposed dividend policy of the combined company will be designed to initially keep Integrys’ shareholders neutral after taking into consideration both the stock and cash they received.
Also, Integrys announced that it is in the late stages of a competitive process to divest Integrys Energy Services, its non-regulated marketing subsidiary. In January 2014, it also announced an agreement to sell Upper Peninsula Power Company to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners.
The transaction is subject to approvals from the shareholders of both companies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, Illinois Commerce Commission, Michigan Public Service Commission and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The transaction also is subject to the notification and clearance and reporting requirements under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and other customary closing conditions.
The companies anticipate closing in the summer of 2015.
Barclays is serving as the sole financial advisor and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is serving as legal counsel to Wisconsin Energy. Lazard is acting as sole financial advisor to Integrys, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Foley & Lardner LLP are providing legal counsel.