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Energy & Environment
Here are some of the other stories catching our attention.

Piedmont Shareholders OK Acquisition By Duke Energy

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Piedmont Natural Gas shareholders have approved the company’s sale to Duke Energy. Two-thirds of the company’s shareholders supported the deal at a special meeting Friday morning at its Charlotte headquarters. Duke announced in October it was buying Piedmont for $6.7 billion in cash and debt. There’s little overlap between the companies’ businesses, and the merger won approval from federal antitrust regulators in December.

The deal still needs the approval of North Carolina utilities regulators. Duke and Piedmont also  said they’re providing information about the deal to utilities regulators in South Carolina and Tennessee.

The companies hope to close the deal by the end of this year. They’ve said they plan no layoffs or price increases following the merger.  

Duke is paying $4.9 billion in cash for Piedmont, and also will assume $1.8 billion in Piedmont debt.

Analysts said after the merger announcement that electric utility acquisitions of gas companies were a trend, in part because of slow growth in the electric business. Meanwhile, gas companies are in growth mode, as utilities look for cheaper, cleaner ways to generate power.

Piedmont in a sense is returning to its mother ship. The company was formed in 1951 as a spinoff from Duke.

RELATED DOCUMENTS AND LINKS

See the Piedmont Natural Gas proxy statement for the Jan. 22, 2016, merger vote, detailing how the deal came together, how shareholders will be compensated, and post-merger executive compensation.