UPDATE 1-EnergySolutions to be sold for $338.5 mln, shares up
* Offer at 9 pct premium to Friday close
* EnergySolutions can seek new offers through Feb. 6
* Shares up as much as 11 pct
Jan 7 (Reuters) - Private equity firm Energy Capital Partners will buy EnergySolutions Inc for $338.5 million in cash as the debt-laden nuclear waste management company struggles with weak demand.
EnergySolutions' shareholders will receive $3.75 in cash for each share, representing a 9 percent premium to the stock's Friday's close of $3.44 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The stock rose 8 percent to $3.72 in early trade.
The deal implies an enterprise value of $1.1 billion, the companies said in a statement.
EnergySolutions had long-term debt of $810.6 million as of Sept. 30.
As per the deal, EnergySolutions is free to solicit offers from third parties through Feb. 6.
The company laid off 265 employees in October to combat rising costs.
EnergySolutions, which caters to the governments of the United Kingdom and the United States as well as a number of large utilities, has struggled to win new contracts as the nuclear power industry scales back spending.
There has been a worldwide push to switch to cheaper and safer fuels after the radiation crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in 2011. The disaster has led to a tightening of safety measures imposed on the nuclear industry, bumping up costs and crimping investment.
In June this year, the company named a managing partner at its largest shareholder, ValueAct Capital Management LP, as its chief executive.
Energy Capital, whose bid is backed by Morgan Stanley, said it plans to operate EnergySolutions as a standalone business with the current management in place.
Goldman Sachs is the financial adviser to EnergySolutions.