Merger Mania Continues

Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1996
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Ohio Edison Company and Centerior Energy Corp. announced an agreement September 17 on a tax-free, stock-for-stock merger to form a new holding company, FirstEnergy Corp., worth about $4.8 billion, based on stock prices that closed several days earlier.

The news came a month after two other merger deals were announced in mid-August: 1) Atlantic Energy, Inc. and Delmarva Power & Light Co. ($2.2 billion), and 2) Houston Industries Inc. and NorAm Energy Corp. ($3.8 billion). NorAm is the nation's third-largest U.S. natural gas utility.

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Elsewhere, MidAmerican Energy Co. had launched an unsolicited offer for IES Industries, which, if approved, could derail the proposed three-way merger of IES Industries with WPL Holdings, Inc. and Interstate Power Co. At the same time, Cinergy Corp., rumored to be engaged in merger talks with two natural gas pipelines, Williams Cos. and PanEnergy Corp., was denying "anything other than preliminary or exploratory discussions with any third parties regarding such a transaction."

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