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Elliott Management Prods Evergy to Resume NextEra Merger Talks

Evergy reportedly turns a $15 billion acquisition offer from NextEra Energy.
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Elliott Management, the hedge fund run by Paul Singer, called upon power utility Evergy  (EVRG)  to "immediately reengage" with NextEra Energy  (NEE) one day after reportedly rejecting a $15 billion acquisition offer.

Shares of the Kansas City-based Evergy were up 1.50% to $58.86, while Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy was up nearly 1% to $75.99 at last check. 

Reuters reported Monday that NextEra Energy, the world's largest producer of wind and solar energy, made the all-stock acquisition offer for Evergy.

Evergy turned down the offer in recent days and it was unclear whether NextEra will make a new approach, Reuters said, citing people familiar with the matter. One of the sources said that NextEra had no immediate plans for a new bid.

NextEra's bid valued Evergy in the mid $60s-per-share. Evergy told NextEra that the price was inadequate, and that it also required a detailed plan to overcome regulatory hurdles.

Evergy has about 1.6 million customer accounts and about 5,000 employees. In addition to Kansas City, the utility serves the eastern half of Kansas and the northwestern portion of Missouri. 

As one of Evergy's largest investors, Elliott Management said in a statement that it believes the company's board "must act in accordance with its fiduciary duty to immediately reengage with NextEra and fully explore the possibility of a transaction that maximizes value for Evergy's stakeholders," 

"With its best-in-class management team," Elliott said, "NextEra is uniquely positioned to deliver superior benefits for all of Evergy's stakeholders, including providing lower electric rates for Evergy's customers compared to what Evergy can achieve on a standalone basis."

NextEra declined to comment. Evergy said in a statement that it is focusing executing its Sustainability Transformation Plan, "which the Board unanimously determined is the option that creates the highest, most certain value for shareholders and benefits for our stakeholders."

"While we are always open to new ideas and opportunities that have the potential to enhance shareholder value,' Evergy said, "we remain confident that the STP, which Elliott publicly endorsed when it was announced, is the best risk-adjusted path forward and that all appropriate steps are being and have been taken to maximize shareholder value."

In September, Duke Energy  (DUK)  turned down NextEra's takeover offer.

Elliott Management is one of the largest activist funds in the world and manages about $41 billion of assets.