- Wisconsin Energy and Integrys Energy Group may be nearing a deal to appease shareholders who say the proposed merger does not provide sufficient value and should have been negotiated differently, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
- Over the summer Wisconsin Energy announced its intent to acquire the utility for $9.1 billion, but shareholders have filed class action lawsuits saying Integrys should have considered other bidders.
- Company officials say a deal has not been finalized, but a memorandum of understanding has been signed that would allow changes to a proxy statement filed in advance of next week's shareholder meeting.
There are cautiously optimistic signs that a deal may have been reached to smooth Wisconsin Energy's bid to acquire Integrys. Company officials say the deal is not final, but changes may be made to a proxy statement Integrys shareholders must consider to sign off on the deal.
The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports that among the proxy changes, the statement would include greater details on the deal's rationale and analysis of how Integrys would be valued in the years ahead. A consultant retained by Integrys estimated the deal would add about 14% in "intrinsic value," according to court filings.
The utilities say any changes to the proxy statement are simply to avoid litigation and not an admission that the deal should have been negotiated differently.
The deal would create WEC Energy Group, serving more than 4.3 million total gas and electric customers across Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. The merger would combine We Energies with Integrys’ Wisconsin Public Service, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Minnesota Energy Resources and Michigan Gas Utilities.