Great Plains Energy to buy Westar Energy for $8.6 bn

Great Plains Energy Inc. today struck a deal to buy Kansas' biggest utility, Westar Energy Inc, for $8.6 billion.

Under the terms of the agreed cash and stock deal, Great Plains will pay $51 per share in cash and $9 per share in stock, and assume Westar Energy's $3.6 billion debt.

Westar shareholders will receive a total of $60 per share, a premium of 13.4 per cent to the stock's Friday closing price.

The total deal value is about $12.2 billion, including Westar's debt of $3.6 billion.

Goldman Sachs Group will provide about $8 billion of debt financing for the deal, according to the statement.

''The combination of our two companies is the best fit for meeting our region's energy needs,'' said Great Plains CEO Terry Bassham. ''By combining our two companies, we are keeping ownership local and management responsive to regulators, customers and regional needs.''

Post closing, Great Plains Energy will have more than 1.5 million customers in Kansas and Missouri, nearly 13,000 MW of generation capacity, almost 10,000 miles of transmission lines and over 51,000 miles of distribution lines.

In addition, more than 45 per cent of the combined utility's retail customer demand can be met with emission-free energy.

Kansas City, Missouri-based Great Plains Energy is a holding company that owns electric utility Kansas City Power and Light Company and energy management company Strategic Energy, LLC, two of the leading regulated providers of electricity in the Midwest.

Westar Energy is Kansas' largest electric utility providing electricity to nearly 700,000 customers.

The company has 7,200 MW of electric generation capacity fueled by wind, coal, uranium, natural gas and landfill gas. Westar also is a leader in electric transmission in Kansas.