July 12, 2017 / 6:22 PM / 2 years ago

Elliott tells court it was barred from seeking Oncor financing

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) - An attorney for Elliott Management on Wednesday complained to a bankruptcy court judge that the owner of Texas’s largest power distribution business did not provide the investment fund with information needed to line up financing for its offer of more than $18 billion to buy the company.

FILE PHOTO: Paul Singer, founder, CEO, and co-chief investment officer for Elliott Management Corporation, speaks during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May, 9, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

Instead, Energy Future Holdings Corp, the bankrupt majority owner of Oncor Electric Delivery Co, struck a deal this month to sell its ownership of the business to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) for $9 billion in cash, valuing the company at $18.1 billion.

A lawyer for Elliott Management, which spent years battling Argentina over its defaulted debt, told the court that the fund has enough debt in Oncor’s parent, Energy Future, to block the Berkshire deal.

The fund has argued that its own $18.5 billion Oncor deal would be better for creditors.

Gregg Galardi, Elliott’s lawyer, said potential sources of financing for a rival bid had contacted Elliott, a $32 billion fund led by billionaire Paul Singer, but Energy Future had ignored requests for information to help structure a deal.

“We need actual cooperation,” he said.

Galardi also noted that Energy Future had not run an auction.

Chad Husnick, who represents Energy Future, countered that Elliott had not signed a non-disclosure agreement with Oncor and said Energy Future would not shop its Oncor stake when Elliott had no committed financing.

“My response is, show me the money and we’ll consider it,” he said. Husnick also told the hearing in Wilmington, Delaware, that the Berkshire plan could be confirmed.

Two previous deals for Oncor, with Hunt Consolidated Inc and another with NextEra Energy (NEE.N), were rejected by Texas’s Public Utility Commission after the plans were confirmed by the bankruptcy court.

Husnick said the Berkshire proposal has already been discussed with PUC staff. He said Energy Future anticipates quick regulatory approval and then confirmation of the plan by the bankruptcy court, an approach that Judge Christopher Sontchi said he supported.

Elliott has estimated creditors will be repaid around 24 cents on the dollar under the Berkshire proposal, compared to 80 cents under the deal NextEra Energy that was blocked by Texas regulators.

A hearing on the schedule for reviewing the Berkshire plan was set for July 26.

Energy Future has been in bankruptcy since 2014, filing after a consortium of private equity firms bought it for about $44 billion.

Additional reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by David Gregorio

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