- Energy Future Holdings, parent company of Oncor, earned approval from the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to enter into NextEra Energy's deal to acquire its transmission and distribution utility Oncor, SNL reports.
- The decision follow's NextEra efforts to pad its bid to purchase Oncor out of bankruptcy, adding $300 million in cash to the purchase price in a bid to assuage creditor worries about the deal, The Wall Street Journal reports. NextEra
- NextEra's purchase of Oncor is a key to Energy Futures Holdings plan to exit bankruptcy as fhe company owns an 80% stake in the Texas utility. NextEra and EFH plan to file a joint application for approval with the Public Utilities Commission of Texas "soon," according to a statement.
A bankruptcy judge signed off on EFH's bankruptcy plan last month, but The Wall Street Journal reports the companies were back in court Monday with a higher offer following what the paper described as "a 48-hour flurry of activity."
Now EFH got the green light to move ahead with the NextEra deal, with the next step aimed at acquiring creditors' suuport, SNL notes.
The changes raise the cash component of NextEra's offer for Oncor to $4.4 billion, though it is unclear how that impacts valuation of the entire deal. While previous efforts to purchase Oncor out of bankruptcy failed—this is the second time NextEra has been at the table—analysts say the deal is likely to go through this time around.
Stacy Nemeroff, a utilities analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, told Utility Dive approval of the deal will hinge on more than just the bottom line. In some ways, NextEra is a natural fit since NextEra Energy Resources — the company's development subsidiary — is already a renewable energy giant in Texas, owning 17 facilities totaling 3,000 MW of gross capacity.
"Oncor is considered to be one of the most innovative T&D utilities," Nemeroff said. "Partly because they have to integrate wind energy. But from what I understand, they have a very technology-savvy group in management. ... From a a strategic perspective it's a very good asset, a strong fit with NextEra."
In addition to Oncor, the plan to exit Chapter 11 also calls for a tax free spinoff of TCEH, Luminant and TXU Energy; if the plan is approved by state regulators, "Reorganized TCEH” would emerge from bankruptcy.