Sempra is said to be mystery 3rd bidder for Oncor Electric

New York • Sempra Energy is the mystery third bidder for Oncor Electric Delivery Co that’s competing with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc and Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp, according to people fami- liar with the matter.

San Diego-based Sempra has made a US$9.3 billion (RM39.9 billion) offer for the Texas utility, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter is not public. Berkshire has offered US$9 billion, while Elliott has been working on a deal that may total US$9.3 billion.

Lawyers disclosed that another  bidder had emerged for Oncor during a bankruptcy hearing last Friday, without revealing the name of the suitor. Oncor is a division of bankrupt Energy Future Holdings Corp.

A deal for Oncor is key to ending the bankruptcy of its parent, which has been restructuring almost US$50 billion of debt for more than three years. Singer and Buffett are set for a showdown today in the US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, that could help determine who gets to buy Oncor.

The Dallas-based company serves almost 10 million customers and operates more than 106,000 miles (170,590km) of distribution lines. Energy Future’s earlier efforts to sell the firm have failed.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy, the energy subsidiary of Buffett’s conglomerate, said last Friday that it had reached an agreement with five stakeholders in Texas, including the staff at the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC), resolving all outstan- ding issues in its bid for Oncor. Ultimately, it is up to the two PUC commissioners to sign off on its bid once
it is approved by the bankruptcy court, which has not yet occurred despite the staff’s recommendation. —