February 13, 2017 / 2:28 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-NRG names two directors in deal with Elliott and Bluescape

(Adds details, background)

By Michael Flaherty

Feb 13 (Reuters) - NRG Energy Inc, the largest U.S. independent power producer, said it would appoint two directors in a deal with activist investor Elliott Management and private equity firm Bluescape Energy Partners.

John Wilder, Bluescape Energy’s executive chairman, and Barry Smitherman, former chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, have been appointed to the board, NRG said in a statement on Monday. Directors Howard Cosgrove and Edward Muller will step down.

As part of the agreement, NRG said it would set up a five-member committee to look into cost-cutting, asset sales, capital allocation and broader strategic initiatives.

That committee will be chaired by Wilder, the former chief executive officer of utility TXU Corp.

NRG’s struggling GenOn Energy affiliate and its solar-power division are among the units the committee is expected to assess.

“The Committee plans to expeditiously conduct its review and make any relevant recommendations to the Board,” the company said in a statement.

Elliott and Bluescape are also targeting significant cost cuts at NRG.

Shares of the company, whose market value is around $5.3 billion, have risen more than 10 percent since Elliott and Bluescape announced their joint investment on Jan. 17. Their combined holdings are around 10 percent of NRG. (Additional reporting by Komal Khettry in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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