UK Watchdog Clears National Grid’s $11B Purchase Of WPD

Britain’s competition regulator cleared National Grid’s proposed acquisition of the United Kingdom’s largest electricity distribution business on Wednesday without referring the US$11 billion deal to a lengthy investigation.

National Grid agreed in March to buy Western Power Distribution (WPD), which runs grids in the English midlands and southwest regions, as well as Wales, from US-based PPL Corp .

The deal does not merit a so-called Phase 2 investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stated, despite initial concerns the merger would result in National Grid and WPD “ceasing to be distinct.”

National Grid plays a pivotal role in the UK energy industry, transporting energy from producers to local network operators, who bring gas and electricity into homes and businesses.

Britain in 2019 became the G7 first member to set a net zero target for 2050, which will require wholesale changes in the way Britons travel, heat their homes and consume electricity.

National Grid has stated the deal is part of its preparations for a shift away from gas since it boosts the proportion of its assets devoted to electricity.

WPD is Britain’s biggest single power network operator, but under the country’s market structure, it does not sell directly to end users.

WPD’s four distribution network operators deliver electricity to about 7.9 million customers and employ more than 6,500 staff. National Grid stated it would maintain the WPD headquarters in the western English city of Bristol.

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.