Great Plains Energy (GXP), Westar Energy (WR) Receive Shareholder Approval of Proposed Merger

September 26, 2016 12:33 PM EDT

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Great Plains Energy Incorporated (NYSE: GXP), the parent company of KCP&L, and Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) today announced that their respective shareholders approved all proposals necessary for Great Plains Energy’s acquisition of Westar Energy at each company’s respective shareholder meeting.

“We are pleased that our shareholders have overwhelmingly demonstrated their support for this transaction, and I thank Great Plains Energy and Westar shareholders and employees for their support throughout this process,” said Terry Bassham, chairman and chief executive officer of Great Plains Energy and KCP&L. “This is a great transaction for all Great Plains Energy and Westar stakeholders. Together, we will create a stronger combined company that will be better positioned to serve customers, generate hundreds of millions of dollars in operational savings for years to come, meet the region’s energy needs and achieve improved and more stable, long-term financial returns.”

“Our shareholders’ support for the transaction clearly demonstrates the value of combining Westar and Great Plains Energy,” said Mark Ruelle, president and chief executive officer of Westar. “Together, we will be stronger both financially and operationally, which will benefit customers, shareholders and the communities in which we operate. We continue to make progress toward completing the transaction in the spring of 2017.”

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the recent endorsements of the transaction by the Kansas City Area Development Council, regional economic development organizations and elected officials. Endorsements touted the economic benefits, competitive electric rates and commitment to growth that the combined utility will bring to the region.

“The combined generation portfolio of the new utility will be more diverse and sustainable,” said Bassham. “Once this transaction is complete, more than 45 percent of our combined retail customer demand will be met with emission-free energy and we will have one of the largest wind generation portfolios in the United States. This helps us maintain reliable, low cost energy for all of the residential and business customers we serve.”

Great Plains Energy has an established track record of gaining approval for utility acquisitions and successfully integrating with the acquired company. In 2008, Great Plains Energy completed its acquisition of Aquila, an electric utility serving customers in adjacent areas of Missouri. That acquisition exceeded expectations as it delivered and continues to deliver significant savings for customers.

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