US energy company PPL announced today it would buy E.On's UK power networks in a deal worth nearly £4 billion.
The Allentown, Pennsylvania-based company is buying the Central Networks electrical networks distribution business of E.On.
PPL will pay 5.6 billion dollars (£3.45bn) in cash and assume 800 million dollars (£494m) in existing debt. PPL and E.On expect to close the deal early next month.
E.On's Central Networks serves five million customers in the Midlands, including Birmingham and Nottingham, through about 83,000 miles of lines.
"This transaction significantly improves PPL's business mix and our business-risk profile," said James Miller, PPL's chairman, president and chief executive.
PPL already owns Western Power Distribution, which provides regulated distribution through 52,000 miles of lines to 2.6 million customers in south-west England and south Wales.
With Central Networks, PPL will own and operate what it says will be the largest network of electricity delivery companies in the UK in terms of regulated asset value, a combined £4.9 billion.
"Opportunities as compelling as this do not come along very often," Mr Miller said.
In December, PPL completed its acquisition of two Kentucky utilities - Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities - from E.On for 7.59 billion dollars (£4.7bn).
With the latest acquisition, PPL will provide utility service to more than 10 million customers in the UK, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee and owns or controls some 19,000 megawatts of generating capacity.