Electric and gas utility firm Fortis has signed an agreement to acquire US-based independent electric transmission firm ITC Holdings, for approximately $11.3bn.

As part of the deal, ITC shareholders will receive $22.57 in cash and 0.7520 Fortis shares per the company share.

Fortis president and CEO Barry Perry said: "The acquisition of ITC, a premier pure-play transmission utility, is a continuation of this growth strategy. ITC not only further strengthens and diversifies our business, but it also accelerates our growth."

Through its subsidiaries, ITC operates high-voltage transmission facilities in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. The firm is also a public utility and independent transmission owner in Wisconsin.

"According to Fortis, (ITC) will become one of the top 15 North American public utilities by enterprise value, once the deal concludes."

Its operating subsidiaries include ITC Transmission, Michigan Electric Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and ITC Great Plains.

The firm serves a combined peak load exceeding 26,000MW along approximately 15,600 circuit miles of transmission line.

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ITC chairman, president and CEO Joseph Welch said: "From the very beginning of ITC, we have been focused on creating meaningful value for all stakeholders, including customers, investors and employees, by becoming the leading electric transmission company in the US."

According to Fortis, it will become one of the top 15 North American public utilities by enterprise value, once the deal concludes.

Subject to customary closing conditions and certain regulatory and federal approvals, the deal is expected to complete by the end of this year.

Through its regulated utilities, Fortis provides services to around three million customers in Canada, the US and the Caribbean.