Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) — Duke Energy Corp.‘s $16.1 billion bid to become the largest U.S. utility owner by buying Progress Energy Inc. may influence future consolidation in the industry, the chief executive officer of PPL Corp. said.
Duke, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is trying a second time to ease monopoly concerns from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and convince state officials that the deal is good for customers who pay regulated rates.
“The industry is watching the Duke-Progress merger and FERC’s requirements,” William Spence, who became PPL’s chief executive officer in November, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. “Mergers and acquisitions in our industry are difficult.”
A successful Duke and Progress deal, which would have a combined market capitalization of $43.7 billion, may inspire other utility owners to consolidate as a way to build their balance sheets and fund growth plans, Spence said.
PPL is satisfied with its size and mix of competitive and regulated businesses and isn’t seeking more acquisitions, Spence said. The Allentown, Pennsylvania-based company bought E.On AG’s central England power grid for $5.6 billion in 2011 and the German utility’s Kentucky Power unit for $6.7 billion in cash in 2010.
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