At the time of California Water’s proposal on 4 April, the price per share offered for the acquisition was 30% higher than the all-time high closing share price of SJW.

California Water said in a statement: “SJW would be a superb strategic and operational fit that would enhance California Water’s position as the country’s third-largest regulated water utility, with a rate base of $1.9 billion.”

California Water stated that the proposal could provide SJW with significant and certain near-term value which is greater than its proposed merger with the Connecticut Water Service.

In March, SJW and Connecticut Water Service reached an agreement to create a combined company with a $1.9bn equity value and a $2.6bn enterprise value.

California Water said that the combined entity would be better positioned to anticipate and meet the needs of more than 3 million people it would serve in California, Washington, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Texas, including approximately 1.4 million people in the greater Bay Area.

However, SJW confirmed that it has rejected an unsolicited, non-binding indication of interest it received from California Water.

SJW said that Cal Water’s proposal was not reasonably likely lead to a superior proposal as defined in its merger agreement with Connecticut Water Service.

California Water president and CEO Martin A. Kropelnicki said: “We have repeatedly sought to discuss privately our superior proposal with SJW’s Board, but SJW has refused to engage and just informed us last night that the SJW Board rejected it on April 13, 2018.

“Their lack of engagement has prevented their stockholders from learning about the substantial and immediate value we can deliver. We are now making our proposal public so stockholders can evaluate it for themselves. We are confident they will view it as clearly superior to the Connecticut Water transaction and to SJW’s standalone prospects.”