October 30, 2017

Eversource's $1.7B deal to buy Aquarion greenlighted

Eversource Energy got the greenlight Friday from Connecticut regulators to buy Bridgeport-based Aquarion Water Co., the region's largest private water utility, for $1.7 billion.

Eversource will pay seller Macquarie Infrastructure Partners $880 million in cash and assume $795 million of Aquarion's debt, according to the filing from the state's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

Approvals are not necessary from the state of New Hampshire but are pending from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, Caroline Pretyman, a spokesperson for Eversource, said via email.

"We are pleased that Connecticut regulators have approved the acquisition, acknowledging the transaction is in the public interest," Eversource said in a statement. "We look forward to working with Aquarion on a smooth transition that will ensure local ownership that is committed to providing the resources needed to make investments in the business to drive long-term success."

The deal adds more than 300 employees to Eversource's 8,000-person workforce across Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and approximately 230,000 more customers in those three states. Eversource has 3.7 million electric and natural gas accounts across that territory.

The PURA decision notes that "no substantial changes" will be made to Aquarion's workforce.

Despite the size of the deal, PURA found that Aquarion "will have the same individual responsibility to provide safe, adequate and reliable utility service to its customers" that it had prior to the acquisition.

The closing is due to take place 15 calendar days after parties satisfy or waive conditions to each company's obligations, according to the redacted purchase agreement -- by the end of the year, Pretyman said.

Aquarion referred comment to Eversource.

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