The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Wednesday gave the green light to Duke Power Co.’s plan to buy PanEnergy Corp. for $7.7 billion in stock.
The transaction is now cleared to go through. It’s already been approved by regulators in North Carolina and South Carolina, and by shareholders of both companies. The companies said they expect the merger to be completed in mid-June.
How it will play in Spokane is unclear.
PanEnergy opened an office in the IBM Building three years ago. Its six employees market electricity and natural gas around the Northwest.
The operation has since become part of a limited liability company PanEnergy formed with Mobil.
Meanwhile, Duke and partner Louis Dreyfus, which together are one of the largest energy marketing teams in the U.S., announced they would form a joint venture with Puget Sound Energy.
The new venture plans to open an office in the Puget Sound area.
PanEnergy Vice President Jim Hart said he is not sure how, or if, those plans will affect the company’s Spokane office.
Duke may fold its partnership with Louis Dreyfus into the PanEnergy-Mobil venture, he said, but other configurations are possible.
The Spokane office is one of 15 around the U.S. and Canada, Hart noted.
FERC’s decision could pave the way for more combinations of natural gas and electric companies, said Richard Spletzer, who manages Duff & Phelps Utility Income fund, which holds about 1 million Duke shares. “There’s going to be a lot of copycats at lower levels. You’ve got two giants here,” he said.
The combination of Duke, a Charlotte, N.C., electric utility, and PanEnergy, a natural gas supplier based in Houston, is one of many planned between different types of companies as energy markets move toward competition.