Cofely USA Inc. is buying Ecova Inc. for $335 million from Avista Capital, a subsidiary of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA).

Ecova, headquartered in Spokane, Washington, is an energy utility management company. The company offers utilities and expense and data management services.                                                                    

Cofely is an indirect subsidiary of GDF Suez, a French multinational utility company. The company bought Ecova because it is working to develop its international energy services business. Cofely, through its retail electricity business, offers energy services in North America.

Spokane-based Avista is an energy company that produces, transmits and distributes energy, including electric service. Avista plans to use the proceeds to buy back common stock and invest in the business.

Robert W. Baird & Co. advised Ecova on the deal.  Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as Avista's financial adviser, while David Wright Tremaine LLP provided legal advice.

Other recent utility deals include Exelon Corp.'s agreement to buy Pepco Holdings Inc., announced in April, and Star Gas Partners LP's (NYSE: SGU) deal for Griffith Energy Services Inc. in January. 


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