TAMPA (FOX 13) - TECO Energy has agreed to a deal that would sell the company to Canada-based Emera Inc. for $10.4 billion dollars, the two companies announced Friday.
The acquisition is pending regulatory and government approval and would go into effect in mid-2016.
"I am thrilled about the merger, but most of all I am thrilled about this merger because Emera believes in TECO's strategy, in the leadership that exists here and its employees," Emera CEO Chris Huskilson said at a joint news conference with Mike Ramil, CEO of TECO Energy.
The acquisition was approved unanimously by the Boards of Directors of both companies. Shareholders would also still need to give their go-ahead to the deal.
The bosses of the utility companies promised to keep the headquarters for TECO, which is the parent company for Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas, in downtown Tampa and keep employees at work.
"All of our people that are running all of the operations to serve customers 24 hours a day, they're needed to continue doing that," Ramil said.
According to Ramil and Huskilson, rates will remain steady and customers will not be hit with major increases.
FOX 13 Consumer Reporter Chris Chmura said it's too early to tell what the long-term impact might be.
"There are two ways to look at this, becoming a bigger company might provide better buying power and that could mean lower prices for us," he said. "On the other hand, becoming a bigger company might mean bureaucracy, and that has been sharply criticized with some of TECO's competitors, namely Duke Energy."
Emera's CEO believes concerns will be eased over time.
"This will continue to be the hometown electric utility for its customers," Huskilson said.
The transaction would make the combined company a top 20 utility in North America.