Aquila Inc. and Great Plains Energy Inc. Friday filed required notifications for antitrust clearance for their proposed merger, saying the 30-day initial waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act will expire on Aug. 27.

In February it was announced that Great Plains would acquire Aquila in a stock and cash transaction valued at $1.7 billion plus $1 billion in Aquila debt. The deal was announced along with a proposed transaction by which Black Hills Corp. would acquire Kansas City, MO-based Aquila’s gas utilities in Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa and Kansas and its electric utility in southeastern Colorado for $940 million in cash and debt assumption (see Daily GPI, Feb. 8).

In April hedge fund Pirate Capital LLC sued to block Aquila’s deal with Great Plains, calling it a “sweetheart deal” (see Daily GPI, April 18). That suit remains to be settled, Aquila spokesman Al Butkus told NGI Monday. However, Norwalk, CT-based Pirate said earlier this month in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it was in talks with Aquila.

Also in April, Aquila and Great Plains filed the requisite state regulatory applications regarding their transaction. In May, the companies filed a joint application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that was amended in June. With last week’s filing of the Hart-Scott-Rodino notifications, the companies have now filed applications for all regulatory approvals and reviews required for the proposed acquisition.

The closing of the Great Plains acquisition is conditioned upon the sale to Black Hills. Aquila and Black Hills have filed the requisite state and FERC applications with respect to the proposed asset sale, and expect to file Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust notifications regarding the proposed sale in the future, the companies said.

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