Third time's a charm? Berkshire Hathaway may soon buy Oncor

Oncor Electric Delivery may have found the right suitor the third time around

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Oncor Electric Delivery may have found the right suitor the third time around.

Numerous news outlets are reporting that Berkshire Hathaway’s energy business is close to acquiring the Texas electric transmission firm. Oncor has been looking for a rescuer since it was embroiled in parent firm Energy Future Holdings’ bankruptcy filing.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy holds Iowa-based utility MidAmerican Energy, among other companies. The parent Berkshire is largely own and run by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

Two previous companies tried and failed in their bids to buy Oncor, which owns and operates one of the largest grid transmission networks in the country. Three years ago, Hunt Consolidated and partners offered to buy Oncor out of EFH’s bankruptcy proceedings, but that potentially $20 billion deal was scuttled partially due to reported resistance from Texas regulators.

Last year, Florida-based utility giant NextEra Energy made an $18 billion bid for Oncor. It was rejected twice by the Texas Public Utility Commission over concerns of debt leverage and potentially negative impact on ratepayers.

Oncor delivers power to more than 3 million Texas homes and operates about 120,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines in the state. In addition to Mid American Energy, Berkshire Hathaway owns Pacificorp, NV Energy, AltaLink and other utilities.

Oncor Electric Delivery has faced an uncertain future since EFH, formerly TXU, went bankrupt with $42 billion in debt. In May 2016, Hunt informed the Texas PUC it was pulling out of the deal.

The Hunt team reportedly reconsidered a play for Oncor, but then NextEra offered $18 billion last summer.

Terms of the Berkshire Hathaway bid had not been announced as of the story’s release time.

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