Protection One Inc., Topeka, Kan., announced that Westar Energy Inc. entered into a definitive agreement to sell its approximately 88 percent equity interest in Protection One and to transfer its rights and obligations as the lender under Protection One’s credit facility to affiliates of Quadrangle Group LLC, New York.

Protection One was not a party to the agreement.

Westar Energy announced that the transaction is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2004, subject to customary conditions precedent to closing, including approval from the Kansas Corporation Commission.

Like many of its peers in the post-September 11th economy, Westar has pared down its operations to focus resources on its power utility division. Previous to the Protection One sale, Westar sold its minority share in ONEOK, a natural gas production and distribution company.

According to its web site, Protection One’s buyer, Quadrangle, was founded in 2000 as a private investment firm, which invests in the securities of financially troubled companies across industry groups through a separately managed distressed debt investment program.