Stockholders to vote on $12.2 billion Westar-KCP&L merger

Special to McClatchy Newspapers

Westar Energy and Kansas City Power & Light on Thursday announced special meetings to gain shareholder approval for the proposed $12.2 billion acquisition of Westar by KCP&L’s parent company.

Great Plains Energy is working to acquire Westar and add it to KCP&L to create a regional power giant with 1.5 million customers and $14 billion in rate base straddling Kansas and Missouri. The goal is to save costs by consolidating operations and eliminating duplicated functions, allowing the merged company to earn more shareholder profit.

In the $12.2 billion proposed transaction, Great Plains has offered $8.6 billion in cash and stock to buy out Westar and would assume $3.6 billion of Westar debt.

Westar shareholders would get $51 a share for their stock, plus $9 worth of price-protected Great Plains shares.

Both companies’ boards of directors have unanimously recommended that their stockholders approve the acquisition.

The acquisition was announced May 31 and is expected to be finalized next spring, pending state regulatory approval.

The application is being reviewed by the Kansas Corporation Commission. Great Plains and the Missouri Public Service Commission staff have been in dispute over whether the transaction requires that state’s approval.

Westar’s shareholder vote will be held at Heritage Hall at the Kansas Expocenter in Topeka. Great Plains shareholders will gather at the company headquarters at One Kansas City Place, 1200 Main Street, Kansas City, Mo.

Both meetings will begin at 10 a.m. Sept 26.

Dion Lefler: 316-268-6527, @DionKansas