Westar Energy, Pro One continue to explore Pro One sale

SSN Staff  - 
Thursday, February 6, 2003

February 6, 2003

TOPEKA, Kan. - In a continued effort to explore the possibility of a sale of Protection One, both Protection One and its parent company, Westar Energy, have retained financial advisors to develop strategic alternatives for the security company.

According to a release, a special committee comprised of independent members of Protection One’s board of directors has retained Bear, Stearns & Co. while Westar Energy has retained Lehman Brothers.

Westar Energy, the largest electric utility in Kansas, currently owns approximately 88 percent of Protection One, and is currently facing a debt of approximately $3.6 billion.

The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC), which regulates public utilities, and has been critical of Westar’s investment in outside businesses such as Protection One, has put pressure on Westar to divest itself of its interest in Protection One to reduce Westar’s debt.

Late last year, the KCC ordered Westar to separate its regulated utility businesses from its non-regulated businesses, including Protection One.

In a release, Protection One President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Ginsburg said that any action would be beneficial to the company’s stockholders and expressed confidence in the future of the company. “We are optimistic the progress Protection One employees have made over the last 20 months in improving the metrics of the business will be reflected in the alternatives developed for consideration by our special committee,” he said.