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Wisconsin Energy pays $9.1 billion to create Midwest energy giant

Wisconsin Energy, a Standard & Poor’s 500 company, has agreed to buy Integrys Energy Group for $9.1 billion in a cash and stock purchase, the company announced Monday.

Wisconsin Energy (WEC) will pay about $71.47 per Integrys share with a mix of a 74% stock and 26% cash. The price represents a 17.3% premium to Integrys’ (TEG) closing price on June 20.

“We have been consistent in our commitment to undertake acquisitions or combinations only if we believe they will be accretive to earnings per share in the first calendar year after closing,” Gale Klappa, chairman and CEO of Wisconsin Energy, said in a statement. “We believe this combination provides a unique opportunity to create the premier regulated utility system in the Midwest.”

The combined company, which will be called WEC Energy Group, will create the 8th largest natural gas distributor in the U.S. and will operate across Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. It is projected to have a regulated rate base of $16.8 billion.

In addition to the energy assets, the newly-formed WEC Energy Group will hold a 60% stake in American Transmission Co.

Klappa will become chairman and CEO of the combined company. Integrys CEO Charlie Schrock–who netted about $35.7 million from the sale, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission–will retire after the transaction is completed. The company will be headquartered in Milwaukee.