Texas Battleground: Warren Buffett Hates a Fight, But His Oncor Nemesis Lives for It

Warren Buffett hates to get into a fight. Paul Singer lives for it.Now, the two billionaires' paths have crossed in the pursuit of a prized Texas utility. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has hammered out a deal for Oncor Electric Delivery Co. that could put an end to the decade's largest bankruptcy. Singer's hedge fund, Elliott Management, stands in the way, having employed an over-my-dead-body approach to the terms of Berkshire's $18 billion bid.The clash has left Buffett in a spot he prefers to avoid. The 86-year-old, who has wielded friendly guile to cobble together signature acquisitions, is now facing the choice of sweetening the deal to please a hedge fund (something he rarely does), picking a fight or walking away.But Singer wields a big stick. His fund is now the largest creditor to Oncor's bankrupt parent, amassing $2.9 billion of Energy Future Holdings Corp. debt in recent months, giving it firepower in its attempt to torpedo a deal that it feels doesn't sufficiently cover those debts. And Elliott's famously litigious army is primed should Buffett want to plunge ahead with his offer."Whether Berkshire Hathaway is willing to kick in more money, I haven't got a clue," Oncor Chief Executive Officer Bob Shapard said in an interview. "Will Berkshire just hold their ground and kind of make Elliott prove that they can come up with a higher bid or will they negotiate something?"Berkshire didn't respond to requests for comment. Elliott declined to comment.  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us