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WE Energy, Wisconsin Public Service announce utility mega-merger

Power lines
Power lines

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Wisconsin's largest electric utility will get a lot bigger by this time next year. The parent company of We Energies announced this morning that it's buying the parent firm of the Wisconsin Public Service utility.

Wisconsin Energy of Milwaukee is purchasing Integrys Energy of Chicago for $5.7-billion in cash and stock. When debt is added in, the total deal is just over $9.1-billion.

The boards of both companies have approved the acquisition -- and it's scheduled to be finalized by next summer. Both companies say it will create a larger and more diverse utility firm, with the strength to meet future electric needs. It will also create the nation's eighth-largest natural gas distribution company. And it makes the newly-merged utility the largest owner in the American Transmission Company, which operates electric transmission lines statewide.

We Energies of Milwaukee provides electricity mostly to the southeast quarter of Wisconsin, and as far north as Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We Energies also provides natural gas to the vast majority of Wisconsin. Public Service, of Green Bay, serves northeast and north central Wisconsin. Besides Public Service, Integrys owns electric-and-gas firms in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan.

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