Since August, the Energy Future Holdings bankruptcy revolved around the auction of its prized asset, the Oncor power line company. Attorneys flew back and forth to Wilmington, Del., to argue in U.S. Bankruptcy Court over timing. Motions were filed; bids were expected to reach north of $18 billion.
Now the former TXU Corp. is considering calling off the auction and selling Oncor to Dallas billionaire Ray L. Hunt, according to sources close to the negotiations.
For a case that has largely played by the book since EFH declared bankruptcy in April 2014, the move would represent a dramatic turn of events. Just a week ago, the Dallas-based company, the largest electricity provider in Texas, was on the verge of declaring a front-runner in the auction.
NextEra Energy, which owns Florida’s largest power utility and plants and wind turbines across the country, offered a deal valuing Oncor at about $18 billion. With rising profits and assets already established in Texas, the company appeared well-positioned to take over Texas’ largest power line network with 3 million customers. For the utility once slapped with the “stalking horse” label, it would be NextEra’s auction to lose.
But then Hunt, chairman of energy and real estate conglomerate Hunt Consolidated, stepped in late last week. Teamed up with a group of junior creditors that includes BlackRock Financial Management, Anchorage Capital and Arrowgrass Capital, Hunt proposed a deal the group says is more lucrative and offers a quicker route out of bankruptcy court.
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