Shareholders to vote on Westar-Great Plains merger

? Shareholders of Topeka-based Westar Energy and Kansas City, Mo.-based Great Plains Energy will meet separately Sept. 26 to vote on a proposed merger between the two electric utilities.

Great Plains Energy is the holding company that owns Kansas City Power and Light. In May, it offered to buy Westar for $12.2 billion, which would include acquiring $3.6 billion of Westar’s outstanding debt.

The proposed merger is currently under review by the Kansas Corporation Commission and by various federal agencies. The Missouri Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in Missouri, is also being urged to review the case, although Great Plains contends Missouri has no jurisdiction in the matter.

The two companies hope to complete the merger in the spring of 2017.

If approved, the combined company would have 1.5 million customers in Kansas and Missouri, with roughly 13,000 megawatts of generating capacity, 10,000 miles of transmission lines and 51,000 miles of distribution lines.

Great Plains Energy’s common shareholders of record as of the close of business on Aug. 24 and Westar’s common shareholders of record as of the close of business on Aug. 22 are entitled to vote their shares at the respective meetings in person or by proxy.

On Friday, Westar declared a quarterly dividend of 38 cents per share, payable Oct. 3 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 9.

Earlier this month, Great Plains Energy declared a quarterly dividend of 26.25 cents a share.