Energy Capital Partners buys power plant operator Calpine Corp.

ECP offered Calpine's stockholders $15.25 per share in the deal

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Calpine Corp., one of the only publicly traded U.S. power generation firms, sold to Energy Capital Partners for $5.6 billion in cash.

ECP is joined in the purchase by a consortium of investors led by Access Industries and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

ECP offered Calpine's stockholders $15.25 per share in the deal, according to a release by the Houston-based company.

The parties currently expect the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2018.

Merchant generators like Calpine, which sell electricity to utilities on an open market, are facing financial pressures recently. Flat demand, renewable energy installations and continuing low fuel prices have been hard on the merchant generation business.

Calpine’s 2016 profits nosedived by 60 percent from a year earlier. NRG unit GenOn Industry, with more than 15 GW of power across 18 states, filed for bankruptcy in mid-June. NRG itself is selling off power generation assets to cut costs. Dynegy reported a $1.24 billion loss in 2016.

As part of the deal, Calpine has 45 days to entertain other options.

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