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June 18, 2018

CT Water, SJW merger continues after solicitation attempt

Photos | 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.

Connecticut Water Service Inc. is sticking with its $750 million merger agreement with California’s SJW Group after the Clinton-based water utility says it was unable to lure new bidders.

Connecticut Water announced Monday it did not receive an alternate acquisition bid after inviting new offers earlier this month. The bidding process ended June 13.

The water utility did not receive an offer sheet after gauging interest from 50-plus companies, including 20 water and regulated utilities and over 30 financial sponsors, Connecticut Water said.

Connecticut Water invited Eversource Energy to the bidding table after denying the utility's unsolicited April 5 bid of $63.50 per share.

Eversource, which purchased Bridgeport-based Aquarion Water Co. last year for $1.68 billion, declined the opportunity to rebid and said Connecticut Water’s "severely limited" process "fails to reflect a sincere intention" to seek new offers.

Meantime, SJW Group affirmed its commitment to the merger with Connecticut Water, despite receiving its own merger offer from California Water Service Group of San Jose.

Carol Wallace, chairman of Connecticut Water’s board of directors, said Monday the water utility will seek approval from its shareholders and regulators to move forward its deal with SJW Group.

“We believe the completion of this … process should enable all of our shareholders to have confidence that the SJW Group merger maximizes the value of their investment,” Wallace said.

Under the “merger of equals,” Connecticut Water shareholders would own approximately 40 percent of the combined company and SJW would own the remaining 60 percent. The deal is worth $64.72 per share -- based on SJW Group's closing share price as of April 25.

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CT Water, suitor amend $1B merger pact

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