Total merges solar units, ups SunPower stake

Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:11am EST

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(Reuters) - U.S. solar panel maker SunPower Corp (SPWR.O), a unit of French oil major Total (TOTF.PA), said it had agreed to buy Total-owned Tenesol for $165.4 million in cash in an expected deal that will regroup the French group's solar business under one umbrella.

Total announced the $1.3 billion takeover of SunPower in June. Philippe Boisseau, Total's head of gas and power, told Reuters at the time that Total was planning a merger of its photovoltaic subsidiary Tenesol with SunPower.

Concurrently with the closing of the acquisition, Total has agreed to purchase 18.6 million shares of SunPower common stock in a private placement at $8.80 per share, a 50 percent premium to SunPower's Dec 22 closing price.

After the sale of Tenesol, Total will own about 66 percent of SunPower shares.

Tenesol, which has solar panel manufacturing facilities in France and South Africa, is expected to post revenue of about 200 million euros ($261.30 million) in 2011.

SunPower shares soared 26 percent in premarket treading.

($1 = 0.7654 euros)

(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore And Marie Maitre in Paris; Editing by David Cowell)

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