NextEra to buy bankrupt Energy Future Holdings' Oncor stake

(Reuters) - Power producer NextEra Energy Inc NEE.N said it agreed to buy bankrupt Texas power company Energy Future Holdings Corp's stake in Oncor Electric Delivery Co in a deal valued at about $18.4 billion.

The deal will give NextEra access to the largest network of power lines in Texas. The company, whose shares were up 0.5 percent in morning trading, has been trying to buy Oncor for more than a year.

The company said on Friday it would buy Energy Future’s 80 percent indirect stake in Oncor through a newly formed subsidiary.

Energy Future would spin off its power plants and retail electricity business under a reorganization plan.

NextEra said the agreement to buy Energy Future would be filed in a Delaware court as part of the restructuring of the Texas company, allowing it to emerge from bankruptcy.

NextEra will use $9.5 billion mainly to repay creditors of Oncor’s holding company.

The breakdown between cash and NextEra common stock to be provided to creditor classes will be closely scrutinized, said Angelo Thalassinos, a senior legal analyst at Reorg Research.

Energy Future, the largest power company in Texas, filed for Chapter 11 in April 2014 after it failed to meet its debt obligations as electricity prices weakened. The bankruptcy is one of the largest ever in the United States.

When it filed for bankruptcy, the company was buried under debt of $42 billion, much of it taken to finance the buyout of what was then TXU Corp by KKR & Co, TPG Capital and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs.

Oncor, which supplies power to 3.3 million customers, will become the power delivery business of NextEra after the transaction closes.

Separately, a unit of NextEra said on Friday it would sell two natural gas-fired power plants in Pennsylvania in a $760 million deal to an affiliate of private investment firm Starwood Energy Group Global LLC.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are NextEra’s lead financial advisers for the Energy Future deal and Chadbourne & Parke LLP are its legal advisers.

The takeover is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.

Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri and Vishaka George in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Don Sebastian