Cameco has announced that its joint acquisition of Westinghouse Electric Company with Brookfield Asset Management, alongside its publicly listed affiliate Brookfield Renewable Partners and institutional partners, has now received all required regulatory approvals. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the Cameco Corp and Brookfield Renewable Partners' $7.875bn deal to acquire Westinghouse Electric. CMA, which began considering the deal in August, said it will not refer the merger for further investigation.
Cameco said it plans to finance its share of the acquisition using the full amount of a $600m US term loan, which will be drawn down at closing, along with available cash. “We will not be utilising the $280m (US) bridge commitment that we secured concurrently with the acquisition agreement, and that commitment will be terminated,” Cameco noted. Brookfield and its institutional partners will own a 51% interest in in Westinghouse and Cameco 49%.
The planned acquisition was announced in October 2022 in the wake of increased interest in nuclear power following the energy crisis in Europe sparked by sanctions imposed on Russian oil and gas. Westinghouse’s existing debt structure will remain in place, leaving an estimated $4.5bn equity cost to the Cameco-Brookfield consortium, subject to closing adjustments. This will be shared proportionately between Brookfield and its institutional partners (approximately $2.3bn) and Cameco (approximately $2.2bn).
Westinghouse has a long, and somewhat chequered history. The Westinghouse Electric Corporation was an American manufacturing company founded in 1886 by George Westinghouse Early on, Westinghouse was a rival to Thomas Edison's electric company. In 1892, Edison was merged with Westinghouse's chief AC rival, the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, making an even bigger competitor, General Electric. It was originally named "Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company”, and was renamed "Westinghouse Electric Corporation" in 1945.
In 1990, Westinghouse experienced a financial catastrophe losing more than $1bn due to bad high-risk, high-fee, high-interest loans made by its Westinghouse Credit Corporation lending arm. Westinghouse purchased CBS Inc in 1995 and Westinghouse Electric Corporation changed its name to and became the original "CBS Corporation" in 1997. That same year, the Power Generation Business Unit, headquartered in Florida, was sold to Siemens of Germany. A year later, CBS sold all its commercial nuclear power businesses to British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL) and certain rights to use the Westinghouse trademarks were granted to the newly formed BNFL subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Company. That company was sold to Japan's Toshiba in 2006.
Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with US courts in March 2017 in the face of extensive financial difficulties. The filing affected only its US operations, which included projects to build four AP1000 reactors – two each at Vogtle in Georgia, and the VC Summer site in South Carolina. In 2018, Brookfield Business Partners (together with institutional partners collectively known as Brookfield) agreed to acquire 100% of Westinghouse from Toshiba for about $4.6bn. Brookfield completed the purchase in August 2018, marking Westinghouse's exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a restructured company.