Great Plains now wants no-cash merger with Westar

Great Plains Energy Inc. and Westar Energy Inc. announced new plans on Monday to keep the benefits of combining without a massive debt load for Great Plains.

The companies announced plans for a merger of equals. That means no cash for shareholders of Westar, the Topeka, Kansas-based utility, and no transaction debt for Great Plains, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light.

While the combined company — with a name to be selected later — would maintain operating headquarters in Kansas City and Topeka, the corporate offices would be located in Kansas City, according to a release.

The companies say the merger would create a new utility with combined equity value of $14 billion, with about 1 million customers in Kansas and nearly 600,000 in Missouri.

The new deal comes after the Kansas Corporation Commission denied Great Plains’ bid to acquire Topeka-based Westar in a deal valued at $12.2 billion. Commissioners expressed concerns that the original deal offered a huge premium for Westar shareholders, but at a cost that ultimately could threaten any gains for utility ratepayers.

Read more: Kansas City Business Journal

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