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SJW, Connecticut Water compete merger

Water utility SJW Group and Connecticut Water Service have said that they completed their $1.1 billion combination.

SJW will become the third-largest water utility in the United States. Connecticut Water’s shares no longer trade on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Connecticut Water last year rebuffed a proposal from Eversource Energy. The target argued that the $70-per-share offer by SJW Group remains far better.

In June last year, Eversource opposed the deal and started soliciting proxies. The hostile bidder argued that its $63.50 per share all-cash bid for Connecticut Water is better than the SJW offer. However, Connecticut Water disagreed and said that it won’t accept less than $69.50 per share.

“We can get to $64 per share on our own, while preserving for our shareholders even greater upside potential. Based on our business plan, current trading levels and historic trading multiples as a standalone company, [Connecticut] believes that [its] stock would, on its own, trade at a price similar to Eversource’s  price,” the company told the Eversource.

The two companies put the merger on hold after they withdrew their Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) application. In April, SJW and Connecticut Water jointly filed a new application. Although PURA previously argued that the deal would have an impact on Connecticut Water’s financials, it approved the deal last month.

PURA also expressed concerns the merger lacks commitments to keep Connecticut Water’s headquarters and jobs in its home state.

“[The merger] brings together employees from two companies who share a passion for water service, for being good citizens and for preserving natural resources to sustainably serve customers,” Connecticut Water president David Benoit said.

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