Vermont's biggest utility accepts buyout offer

July 12, 2011

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RUTLAND, Vt.—Vermont's largest electric utility, the Central Vermont Public Service Corp., said Tuesday that it has agreed to be sold to Gaz Metro Partnership of Montreal for about $472.4 million.

The deal, if approved by shareholders and regulators, clears the way to combine CVPS with Green Mountain Power, Vermont's second largest electric utility. Gaz Metro owns Green Mountain Power.

CVPS announced that its shareholders are being offered $35.25 a share in cash, a 45 percent premium over the closing price prior to an agreement the utility had reached with another Canadian utility, Fortis Inc.

CVPS said it has terminated its deal with Fortis which offered $35.10 a share.

The deal price was lower, however, than CVPS' closing price of $36 a share on Monday. CVPS shares fell 93 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $36.07 in morning trading Tuesday.

Gaz Metro offered to buy CVPS last month after CVPS had announced a deal with Fortis.

CVPS says the new agreement will result in $144 million in savings to customers over 10 years.

Currently, the Rutland-based CVPS is Vermont's biggest utility, with about 160,000 customers. Green Mountain Power, based in Colchester, has about 96,000.

The combined company would locate its headquarters in Rutland.

Gas Metro has owned GMP since 2007 and Vermont Gas Systems since 1986.