Part 1: Sharks, Whales and Minnows
William Pentland is a Managing Partner at Brookside Strategies, LLC, an energy and utility management consulting firm based in Darien, Connecticut. Previously, he practiced law in New York City at Paul Weiss Rifkind Garrison & Wharton, LLP, and at Jenner & Block, LLP. Mr. Pentland has written on energy and environmental issues for Forbes, The Nation, and Mother Jones, among other publications. He is the Chair of the Northeast Clean Heat and Power Initiative.
It's 8:14 a.m. on the morning of Monday August 14, 1995. Bill Hecht, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Power & Light Company (PPL), is huddled over a small wooden table in his office on the 16th floor of the utility company's headquarters in Allentown, Pa. The temperature already has hit 95 degrees, with the mercury is still climbing. And Hecht has plenty of reason to sweat. He has just learned that his company is the target of a $3.8 billion hostile takeover bid - courtesy of Philadelphia Electric Company (Peco).
Such a merger, if approved would create the third-largest investor-owned electric and gas utility in the country, with $24.5 billion in assets and a customer base of more than 2.7 million accounts. Wall Street would like nothing better.