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Great Plains, Westar revise $14 billion merger to ease regulator concerns

Utilities Great Plains Energy Inc (GXP.N) and Westar Energy Inc (WR.N) announced Monday new terms for their proposed $14 billion merger, hoping the revised structure would satisfy regulatory concerns which nixed the previous tie-up plan.

The duo spent nearly a year in consolidation talks only for the Kansas Corporation Commission in April to rule against the transaction, insisting the deal as it stood was not in the best interests of the companies' 1.6 million customers in Kansas and Missouri.

State regulators have become more proactive in recent months toward utility mergers and acquisitions, intervening in deals as they seek to protect local markets amid tough operating conditions for the power industry.

Regulatory considerations are also a big part of the $18 billion-plus battle for Texas' Oncor Electric Delivery Co, which is subject to competing interest from Berkshire Hathaway and Elliott Management.

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