Duke wins FTC approval of Piedmont Natural Gas deal

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has granted anti-trust approval of the proposed Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE:PNY), the companies said Dec. 22.

The FTC has granted early termination of the 30-day waiting period under the federal Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act with regard to the acquisition.

Expiration or termination of the waiting period is one of the conditions required for completion of the acquisition. The transaction still requires approval by Piedmont shareholders and the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC).

Duke Energy and Piedmont also are providing information regarding the acquisition to the Public Service Commission of South Carolina and the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.

Piedmont Natural Gas is an energy services company primarily engaged in the distribution of natural gas to more than 1 million residential, commercial, industrial and power-generation utility customers in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including customers served by municipalities that are wholesale customers.

Like Duke, Piedmont Natural Gas is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. Piedmont Chairman, President and CEO Thomas E. Skains announced in November that he plans to retire from the company at the time Duke Energy’s acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas closes.

Duke Energy on Dec. 18 designated Frank Yoho to lead its natural gas operations when the company’s acquisition of Piedmont Natural Gas closes. Yoho currently serves as Piedmont Natural Gas’ senior vice president and COO. Yoho report to Duke Energy President, CEO and Chairman Lynn Good, and be a member of the company’s senior management committee.

The companies are targeting a closing of the transaction by the end of 2016. Duke and Piedmont are already among the partners in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. Duke expects Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in 2016.

Duke announced in October that it was seeking to acquire Piedmont for $4.9bn in cash. A couple of months prior to the Duke-Piedmont announcement, Southern (NYSE:SO), announced plans to acquire the AGL Resources (NYSE:GAS) gas company.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.