MARICOPA, Ariz. (AP) — The city of Maricopa has scrapped an idea to buy a private water company amid customer complaints about service interruptions and sudden spikes in water bills.
The city hired Piper Jaffray, an investment bank and asset management firm, to conduct research on the possibility of acquiring Global Water but learned the company was not interested in selling.
Piper Jaffray said the estimated valuation of the company is anywhere from $75 million to $107 million, much less than the company’s own valuation of $500 million, the Maricopa Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/2eOShTm ).
Maricopa Mayor Christian Price said the next step is to continue watching the company and demand it provide better services.
“Global needs us just like we need them. I hope that was shown last night,” Price said. “Global doesn’t succeed if Maricopa doesn’t succeed. However, Global is going to watch us just like we’re going to be watching them. I’m going to fight for my constituency every step of the way to protect them as best I can from any rate increases.”
Global Water President and CEO Ron Fleming said he had never spoken to the Piper Jaffray representative and the extent of the conversations about acquisition he has had with the city were “a couple of 20-minute meetings with the city manager.”
“”At the end of the day, we’re not for sale,” Fleming said. “There is not one shareholder, person on the board, member of the team or myself who is looking to sell.”
Fleming said Maricopa is Global Water’s flagship asset and claimed there should be recognition and appreciation given to the company for all it has accomplished in the community.
With the response from Fleming, the City Council quickly called for a cease-fire.
“The assumption I’ve always carried with me is that it would be impossible (to purchase the company),” Councilwoman Peggy Chapados said.
She said she would only be comfortable pursuing a deal if the city could lower rates and improve product quality, and she could not guarantee either.