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It's a done deal. The Carlyle Group is the owner of Missoula's water system.

The sale of Mountain Water Co.'s parent company Park Water Co. to the Carlyle Group was finalized Dec. 20, transferring ownership from California-based Park to the giant private asset manager.

The completion of the sale was announced in a news release on Carlyle's website recently.

On Wednesday, Carlyle spokesman Chris Ullman said in an email statement the company is anxious to become a part of the Missoula community.

"We appreciate all of the hard work by so many stakeholders in Missoula throughout the past year. We look forward to becoming part of the community and continuing the Mountain Water tradition of being good stewards of Missoula's precious resource," Ullman wrote.

Mountain Water co-chief executive officers John Kappes and Butch Hiller are out of the office this week. Kappes did not respond to messages for comment.

Carlyle, a global asset management firm with more than 148 billion of assets, is the latest in a string of private Mountain Water owners. The Wheeler family, headed by Henry J. Wheeler Jr., owned Park Water for 75 years. Park includes two water systems in California. It acquired Mountain Water in 1979 for $7.5 million.

Mountain Water serves about 50,000 customers in the Missoula area. The Carlyle news release said Park's three systems combined provide water to more than 225,000 customers.

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The completion of the sale comes after the Montana Public Service Commission approved the deal on Dec. 13. The California Public Utilities Commission also gave regulatory approval in December.

The Montana PSC approved the sale with several stipulations, including the condition that Carlyle give the city a chance to buy the water system if it's sold as a single entity in the future. The PSC also required that Missoula's water be used here and not sent elsewhere.

Reporter Jenna Cederberg can be reached at 523-5241 or at jenna.cederberg@missoulian.com.

 

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