November 16, 2018

SJW victorious in $1.1B CT Water acquisition battle

Photo | Contributed
Photo | Contributed
Killingworth Reservoir is among 253 in-state reservoirs and wells Connecticut Water Service Inc. taps to provide potable water to about one in 10 Connecticut residents.

After a contentious, months-long battle among corporate suitors, Connecticut Water Service shareholders on Friday overwhelmingly approved a $1.1 billion stock purchase deal with California's SJW Group.

About 92.5 percent of shareholders greenlit SJW's all-cash buyout of CTWS's outstanding shares. The approval keeps the $70-per-share acquisition on pace to close in the first quarter of 2019, CTWS officials said. The deal is still subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Carol P. Wallace, chairman of the Connecticut Water board of directors, said the Clinton-based utility will continue to be led locally with a New England regional headquarters.

SJW Group President and CEO Eric W. Thornburg was previously CEO of Connecticut Water, resigning last September. Thornburg will lead the combined company, while his Connecticut Water successor, David Benoit, will be president of the company's New England region, the two said.

Connecticut Water and SJW Group originally agreed to a $750 million merger, but the California utility improved its offer again in August amid competing offers from Eversource Energy and a separate California suitor.

CTWS is the parent of the Connecticut Water Co., the Maine Water Co., the Avon Water Co. and the Heritage Village Water Co. In total, the subsidiaries provide water service to over 450,000 people in Connecticut and Maine, and wastewater serve to 10,000-plus people in Connecticut.

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