After 72 years of ownership, the Witt Stephens family is selling Fort Smith-based Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp. to Summit Utilities, a company founded in 1996 that has operations in Colorado, Missouri and is in the process of expanding into Maine.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal, expected to close within eight months barring any surprises or delays from regulatory agencies, will more than double the number of customers for Summit and be its first entry into Arkansas and Oklahoma.
AOG has around 60,000 natural gas taps in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, while Summit’s website says the Littleton, Colo.-based utility has 40,000 customers and is expected to add around 15,000 customers in 2017 through a Maine subsidiary. Summit also operates more than 1,290 miles of pipeline in Colorado and Missouri, and will have 88 miles of pipeline with the Maine operation.
“AOG has been a constant presence in our family,” said Witt Stephens, Jr., son of Witt Stephens Sr. “Our involvement with AOG has dramatically and favorably impacted our family and we express gratitude to all past and present employees. It was important to our family that any acquirer of AOG continue its high standard of ethical and fair treatment of AOG’s customers and employees. We have confidence that Summit Utilities will continue those traditions and provide new opportunities for the employees as they focus on further growing the business.”
Summit, a privately held company, will buy 100% of AOG Corp. equity. Centerview Partners served as financial advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal counsel for Summit. JP Morgan served as financial adviser and Rose Law Firm worked with AOG on the deal.
“Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corporation has built a strong foundation in its service territories and a great reputation for quality customer service. We are eager to welcome AOG into the Summit Utilities family and to work together to further the company’s success,” Kurt Adams, Summit President and CEO, said in a statement. “At Summit Utilities, we see this acquisition as a merger of two great teams that build on each other’s strengths as we continue to grow.”
Talk Business & Politics has forwarded several questions to AOG, including inquiries about employment changes. We will update this story when or if responses are received.