- Kansas-based Evergy on Tuesday denied a Reuters report that it recently turned down a $15 billion all-stock offer by NextEra Energy to acquire the utility.
- "There is currently no offer or bid from any third party for a potential transaction," Evergy said in a statement. The utility did consider a sale earlier this year, and had been in talks with NextEra Energy and other utilities.
- Activist investor Elliott Management on Tuesday issued a statement calling for Evergy to reopen talks with NextEra. Both utilities declined to comment on "market rumors."
Evergy did consider strategic options for the company earlier this year, at the urging of Elliott, but in August determined to instead focus on a Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP) that calls for cutting emissions 80% by 2050.
"The STP is the result of an independent, multi month and comprehensive review of both a potential strategic combination and a modified standalone plan," Evergy said in its statement. The company did not mention Reuters' reporting specifically.
Elliott, however, has indicated its continued support for a sale of the utility.
"As one of Evergy's largest investors, Elliott believes that Evergy's Board must act in accordance with its fiduciary duty to immediately reengage with NextEra and fully explore the possibility of a transaction that maximizes value for Evergy's stakeholders," the activist investor said.
Evergy's statement defended its STP as a "low risk and straight-forward traditional capital investment plan that requires no advance regulatory approvals and is covered by well-established regulatory mechanisms."
Reuters' report on the alleged $15 billion offer for Evergy was based on anonymous sources. The news outlet later reported that NextEra has no immediate plans for a new bid.
CNBC's David Faber highlighted Reuters story, but reported the offer was made "a long time ago." Both Evergy and NextEra declined to comment about the Reuters story.
"We do not comment on market rumors," Evergy spokesperson Gina Penzig said in an email.
"As a matter of policy we do not comment on market rumors," NextEra said in a statement.
NextEra has struggled in its efforts to acquire a large utility. Duke Energy turned down a reported $60 billion buyout offer from NextEra this fall, and previous bids for Oncor Electric and Hawaiian Electric were also unsuccessful.
NextEra purchased a smaller utility, Gulf Power, from Southern Company in 2019. Gulf Power serves about 450,000 customers.
NextEra's largest utility subsidiary is Florida Power & Light, which it is working to combine with the smaller Gulf Power. FPL serves about 5 million accounts. In May, the company submitted a filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requesting regulatory approval to combine FPL and Gulf Power into one energy company. FERC subsequently approved the request to move forward to legally combine the two companies.
"Combining both companies will help usher in a cleaner, more sustainable energy future for Florida and provide benefits to our customers," FPL spokesperson Bill Orlove said in an email. "We expect both companies will legally combine on Jan. 1, 2021."
However, Gulf Power will continue as a separate operating division under the Gulf Power name and brand until January 2022, Orlove said, serving its existing customers under separate retail rates.