Avista said both companies’ boards decided to drop the deal because they were unlikely to win a reversal of regulators’ decisions against the deal by the expiration of their merger agreement on March 29.
Spokane-based Avista and the Canadian utility Hydro One have abandoned their planned merger after regulators in Washington and Idaho opposed the $5.3 billion deal.
Avista said Wednesday it is due a $103 million breakup fee from its Toronto-based merger partner.
In a statement, Avista said both companies’ boards decided to drop the deal because they were unlikely to win a reversal of the regulators’ decisions by the time their merger agreement expired March 29.
The utility provides natural gas and electric service to about 350,000 homes, businesses and other customers across Eastern Washington, northern Idaho, south and eastern Oregon and Juneau, Alaska.
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Investors seemed to regard the deal as dead in December after the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission came out against it, citing concerns about political influence from Hydro One’s largest shareholder, the province of Ontario. That news sent Avista shares plunging from the low $50s to $43, and the stock drifted even lower in recent days.
The deal was originally announced in July 2017. After state regulators announced their opposition, the companies said they would appeal. But that was before Idaho’s Public Utilities Commission came out against the plan in early January.
Although Avista had described the merger as “critical” for its future because of continuing consolidation in the utility sector, it said Wednesday on its website that “Avista has succeeded and thrived over its nearly 130-year history as an independent company, and we are confident that we will continue to do so.”