Fact Check: Does Heidi Cruz's Employer, Goldman Sachs, Control Texas Energy Utilities?

President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Texas on Saturday and ordered federal assistance to the state as thousands of people are still without power and nearly half of Texans are dealing with undrinkable water, broken pipes and offline treatment plants, according to CNN.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and family faced criticism over their trip to Cancun amid the power failure in the state. Now some people have turned their attention toward Cruz's wife, Heidi.

The Claim

Heidi Cruz, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School, is a managing director at Goldman Sachs.

Some people on Twitter made the connection between Goldman Sachs and a merger agreement involving TXU Corp., the former parent company of Texas electricity provider TXU Energy.

Users claimed that Goldman Sachs has "controlling interest" in several Texas energy utility companies.

Guess who is managing director at Goldman Sachs which has controlling interest in several Texas energy utilities?

HEIDI CRUZ.

— Jeras Ikehorn (@JerasIkehorn) February 20, 2021

The Facts

The Alternative Investments unit of Goldman Sachs was involved in the original TXU investment. Currently, the unit has no controlling stake in this or any other Texas utility company.

"A Goldman Sachs fund was part of a private equity consortium that bought TXU in 2007, but following the company's bankruptcy years ago we no longer had a stake," a Goldman Sachs spokesperson told Newsweek on Monday. "We do not have any controlling stake in any U.S. energy company."

In 2007, TXU Corp was purchased in a private equity acquisition by Texas Energy Future Holdings Limited Partnership, a group led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Texas Pacific Group and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners. TXU Corp was then known as Energy Future Holdings Corp (EFH).

As part of the deal, TXU's main entities were maintained. TXU Energy retained its name and was the retail provider of electricity, while TXU Power, the wholesale electricity generation, was renamed Luminant, and TXU Electric Delivery, the transmission and distribution utility, was renamed Oncor.

In 2014, Energy Future Holdings (EFH) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because of unsustainable debt and persistently low wholesale power prices.

In October 2016, certain subsidiaries of EFH, including TXU Energy and Luminant, announced they had emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy through a tax-free spinoff from Energy Future Holding Corp under the new parent company Texas Competitive Electric Holding (TCEH).

TCEH was later renamed and rebranded as Vistra Energy Corp, now known as Vistra Corp. According to Reuters, through its subsidiaries, Vistra is engaged in electricity market activities, including electricity generation, wholesale energy sales and purchases, commodity risk management and retail sales of electricity to end users.

"Goldman Sachs does not have a controlling interest in Vistra," a Vistra spokesperson told Newsweek on Monday. "Vistra is a publicly-traded company with only three shareholders holding more than 5% of Vistra's shares outstanding, none of which are Goldman Sachs."

A "controlling interest" means a shareholder owns a majority (50.01 percent or higher) of the outstanding shares of a given company.

Records from Fintel show Goldman Sachs Group Inc. filed a 13F-HR form disclosing ownership of 1,375,718 shares of Vistra Energy Corp., with total holdings valued at $27,046,000 USD as of December 31, 2020.

The shares are held on behalf of individual brokerage clients of Goldman Sachs and do not represent a position that Goldman Sachs itself has taken.

The Ruling

False.

Goldman Sachs does not have a controlling interest in any Texas energy utility company.

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Heidi Cruz introduces her husband, Republican presidential candidate and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. Rick Wilking/Reuters