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News Digest

Mergers & Acquisitions
Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 2000

companies announced plans to launch an Internet market for procurement of energy industry goods, services, and supplies. PricewaterhouseCoopers will assist with development and technology selection for the group, which includes American Electric Power, Cinergy, Duke Energy, Edison International, Entergy, FirstEnergy, FPL, PG&E Corp., Public Service Enterprise Group, Reliant, Sempra, Southern Co., TXU, and Unicom.

Two weeks later, on April 13, a six-member consortium of energy utilities (AEP, Duke, El Paso, Reliant) and affiliated marketers (Aquila, Southern Energy Marketing) said they would follow with an Internet-based platform for trading energy, both business-to-business and over the counter.

Antitrust Oversight. On April 7, the Federal Trade Commission issued new antitrust guidelines to help the agency evaluate collaborations among competitors, including joint ventures and strategic alliances. The guidelines will apply to buying collaborations, whereby participants centralize the process of ordering or procurement, which the FTC said may "facilitate collusion by standardizing [the] participants' costs or enhancing the ability to project or monitor a participant's output level through knowledge of its input purchases." www.ftc.gov/opa/2000/04/collguidelines.htm.

On June 6-7, the FTC will hold a public workshop on alternative dispute resolution for consumer transactions in the "borderless online marketplace." 65 Fed. Reg. 18032, April 6, 2000.

State Legislatures

Electric Restructuring. October 2002 would be the start date for electric retail choice in Iowa under restructuring legislation introduced by the House Commerce and Regulation Committee. The legislature had until mid-April, when the session ended, to work on the bill, tagged House File 2530. An amendment requiring that 8 percent of the state's power come from renewable sources by 2011, initiated by Gov. Thomas Vilsack, was defeated in committee.

 

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