American utility firm PPL has snapped up its second major UK electricity network after striking a deal worth £3.5 billion with Germany's E.ON.
The acquisition of the Central Networks business adds an electrical supply system serving five million customers in the Midlands, including Birmingham and Nottingham, through about 83,000 miles of overhead and underground cables.
Pennsylvania-based PPL already owns Western Power Distribution, which provides regulated distribution through 52,000 miles of power lines to 2.6 million customers in South-West England and South Wales.
With the acquisition of Central Networks, PPL will own and operate what it says will be the largest network of electricity delivery companies in the UK in terms of regulated asset value - a combined £4.9 billion.
The deal, which is expected to complete next month, forms part of E.ON's plan to sell 15 billion euro (£12.7 billion) of assets by the end of 2013 as it looks to cut debt and expand in regions such as Latin America.